DV8 Physical Theatre, The Happiest Day Of My Life

Review in Issue 11-4 | Winter 1999

At the heart of DV8 Physical Theatre’s latest treatise on love, lust and the battle of the sexes, is an image so stunning that it sends shivers down the spine. Projected onto a cascade of falling water, is a virtual dancer who appears to occupy the same space as the ‘real’ dancer she duets with. As the ‘real’ dancer moves through the water, the image of the virtual dancer fragments and re-forms. The two dancers appear to interact, but the one is only a mirage: the trace of a promise that is always beyond reach. Technically stunning and beautiful to watch, this brief moment eloquently encapsulates the central theme of the show that true happiness always remains just beyond reach.

And the reason for this? Men and women just don’t want the same thing. So it is that DV8 continue their sociologic study of what it is that makes men and women tick, and why it is that they so rarely seem to tick in synchrony. The result is a stylish blend of the surreal and suburban. The first half is a series of wittily observed courtship rituals played out by a group of dancers against a backdrop of bland and familiar chart hits (Boombastic, One Step Beyond, French Kissing in the USA). The musclebound blokes flex and pose in displays of machismo to attract a mate. From the gym to the nightclub to the living room, their pursuit of love is like one endless, nightmarish 18-30 holiday.

The second half is darker, both literally and metaphorically. Indeed, the most technically complex of the show’s choreographic sequences actually takes place in the dark. In the second of the show’s truly remarkable coup de théâtre’s, the stage is flooded with water and the living room set gradually begins to sink. On their isolated island, the dancers continue to squabble and make-up, flirt and fallout, as their world subsides.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Sep 1999

This article in the magazine

Issue 11-4
p. 25