Hosted by The Place, for the next 90 minutes we’re faced with a pulsating piece of dance theatre that blends the energy of hip hop, and in particular breakin’, with the language of contemporary dance and the spoken word to tell a story that fleshes out the early days of Fagin, an orphan left to fend for himself amid grinding poverty in the mean streets of Victorian London.
There’s constant movement on stage from the dancers – the novel’s five main characters plus an ensemble of two – and from the set itself, which consists of a series of very versatile slatted wooden panels,that can be wheeled around to form settings for the street or the space the gang call home.
Fagin, the tall and imposing Arran Green, and Bill Sykes, a sullen Stefano A. Addae, meet and become friends as youngsters in a work house. Both have dreams: Fagin wants prosperity and status, symbolised by a gleaming pocket watch; Bill wants a girlfriend, and that he finds in the person of gentle Nancy, yearningly danced by Ellis Saul.
Part 1, which ends with the introduction of Fagin to young Oliver Twist, an impish Sia Gbamoi, quickly draws you into the story, helped along by a heavy electronic score from Seymour Milton and Benji Bower, which at times is no more than drawn out, disquieting noise well suited to the rough and tumble of the streets. The moody and highly effective lighting bears the signature of Jackie Shemesh.
There follows an inexplicably long 30 minutes interval, the result of which is to drain any tension out of the performance. As a result, Part 2 takes some time to establish itself and regain a grip on you. When it finally does, it’s intensely powerful. A trio between Oliver, Nancy and Sykes, an intricate blend of power play and jealousies, is gripping; as is the climax of the tale, in which Oliver reveals himself to be, in the Dodger’s own words, ‘a conniving, thieving, opportunistic little sh*t.’
Fagin’s Twist is a fascinating piece of dance theatre, anchored by a seamless blend of dance languages. It has its longueurs, however, and perhaps not enough narrative to fill its 90 minutes; and it should seriously consider halving the length of that energy sapping interval.
Age Guidance: 8+
|What||Review: Fagin's Twist, Avant Garde Dance|
|Where||The Place, 17 Duke's Road, London, WC1H 9PY | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Euston (underground)|
25 Sep 18 – 26 Sep 18, 19:30 Dur.: 2 hours inc one 30 mins interval
|Website||Click here to book via The Place|