Ludik, House of Lovers

Review in Issue 10-1 | Spring 1998

Ludik’s House of Lovers harks back to the days when physical theatre featured lots of running around crashing into walls, plenty of rolling around on the floor and a few nifty lifts borrowed from contact improvisation. See early DV8 and Volcano as examples. Eurocrash was new then. Thankfully things have since moved on, although you wouldn’t think so watching this production.

Ludik use their physical style to dramatise gay themes. House of Lovers is a two-man exploration of promiscuity: is it really possible to have sex without strings? Taking the metaphor somewhat too literally, Ludik tie themselves and each other in knots with the lengths of rope and red ribbons which litter the stage. Their vision is bleak. The push and pull of sexual relationships between men are expressed purely as power struggles. The stylised movement sequences and abstract text are used as illustrations of co-dependency, desperation, self-denial, frustration and violence.

Performers Tony Gardner and Stephen Famier fail to exude even a hint of sensuality. Their consequent lack of sexual energy seems odd in a show which is billed to be about casual sex. It’s not that Ludik don’t have a valid point – gay is not all good, it’s true – but in painting so bleak a portrait of gay relationships, they fail to communicate the excitement of mutual attraction that drives two people together in the first place.

There is a glimpse of good humour at the end, when in a short interchange (‘The Philosophical Toothbrush’), the physical style and dramatic content of the piece briefly mesh. However, the overall lack of flow and Ludik’s bleak vision rob the audience of any opportunity to empathise with the performance.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Feb 1998

This article in the magazine

Issue 10-1
p. 23