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Protein Dance in Big Sale

Maria Campos Arroyo, Roland, Natasha Gilmore, Phil Hill, Pauline Huguet, Anders Jensen, Lucia Tong
Director/choreographer: Luca Silvestrini

Bonnie Bird Theatre, Laban, Deptford 6 March 2007

First encountered in The Banquet, which incorporated rudimentary text utterance in a caricature of everyday leisure activity, Protein Dance has for this year's tour created an exilarating evening of total theatre, pared down to c 75 mins since its first production; definitely one to seek out and catch in its current tour.

Big Sale satirises many aspects of contemporary life, entertainment and commerce, hitting bull's eyes on "the madness of celebrity hair fighting and the front pages of The Sunday Sport, to the orange boiler-suited detainees of Guantánamo Bay and an apocalyptic finale" (Ballet Magazine).

All the participants take turns at raucous vocalisations to a microphone thrust at their faces, and counterpointed with film. Their superb athleticism ousts any assumptions of what dance, even modern dance, should be.

All seven dancers display extraordinary versatility and great good humour; high spots include a frenzied complaint about the terms of a supermarket 'special offer', safe sex with 'flexible friends' barriers, and Lucia Tong's combination of wit and contortionism.

Not always easy to tell who is doing what, in breathless quick-changes that veered from TV reality show hysteria, compered by Natasha Gilmore, to the pathos of a rape victim and the orange-suited inmates of Guantánamo Bay.

The musical score underpinned the anarchic events on stage, and was well projected by the Bonnie Bird Theatre's sound system.

See the many enthusiastic reviews of Big Sale from its earlier run,
and a video-clip at http://www.eflier.co.uk/bigsale.

The clip is not that clear on my computer in the small quick-time format, and I greatly hope that efore Big Sale leaves their live repertoire, Protein Dance will feel inclined to make the show into a professionally filmed DVD ?

Peter Grahame Woolf

Dance Theatre Journal is holding a conference "Writing on Performance" at Laban, 31 March-1 April

Natasha Gilmore amidst shopping detritus, pictured by Matthias Ek