Alain Platel’s nicht schlafen is an intense story of the scramble for survival for an all male-cast. Reviewers in European countries where nicht schlafen has been on tour prior to reaching London, interpreted the setting as a refugee camp.
Platel drew his inspiration from the troubled early years of the 20th century, which ultimately led to the First World War.
The soundscape is the work of composer Steven Prengels, who uses the Adagietto from Gustav Mahler’s Fifth Symphony as a basis on which to blend everyday sounds, such as breathing animals, as well as the polyphony of Congolese singers.
The piece marks the first collaboration between Platel and visual artist Berlinde De Bruyckere: her sculpture of a couple of dead horses on a small wooden structure is part of the set of nicht schlafen.
If all that sounds rather sedate and plausible, don’t be fooled. Platel is a provocateur, and the key to his work is that you never know quite what to expect. This videoclip may give you a clue
Alain Platel is the man whose 2003 piece Wolf included a pack of 14 semi-house trained dogs; who in Coup Fatale gave the stage to a combo of Congolese musicians; whose work takes in a huge array of influences, including surrealism and slapstick. And who is not afraid of employing nudity.
Do not expect coherent, well-behaved choreography – there is always a measure of organised chaos in what Platel and his multinational cast of dancers create. They have the ability to make the everyday surreal.
Reviews thus far suggest a relentless and at times startling spectacle, not perfect, but like all works by Alain Platel and his les ballets C de la B intensely thought provoking.
Leave the kids at home, though.
|What||Alain Platel nicht schlafen at Sadler's Wells|
|Where||Sadler's Wells, Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TN | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Angel (underground)|
30 Jun 17 – 01 Jul 17, 19:30 End time TBC
|Website||Click here to book via Sadler's Wells website|