Review: Concrete Impermanence

The idea that change is the only constant is an old one, going back as far as 500 BC, and attributed to the Greek philosopher Heraclitus.  But Alison Currie’s new work is as modern as today.

She expresses her thoughts on ideas of change through three skilled performers, Amarita Hepi, Lewis Rankin and Stephen Sheehan, ear-tingling sound by Alisdair Macindoe, most of it displayed visually on a television screen (designed for the hard of hearing), subtle lighting by Matt Adey and a collection of molo objects which are an essential element of the choreography.

These molos are made of sharply pleated cardboard. They concertina down into surprisingly thin packages, and are in a pairs of various of sizes, from about half a metre to a metre and a half in width. We first meet them as a smaller pair when the lights come upon two male legs sticking out from under one, opened in a fan shape, and the other, similarly fanshaped, revealing a female torso, with arms and head.  But the dancers, Hepi and Rankin, soon reveal themselves and in choreography based on swinging arms, sideways jumps and swift turns, often in close duet, connect with the various molos to give an impression of sometimes controlling them and other times being controlled by them.

Particularly effective is the encounter with the two largest, which are opened out to make a wall; one is the rolled into a pillar, Hepi inside.  Later it is partly unrolled to reveal her sitting cross-legged with a smaller one opened as fan.  Earlier she has been covered by one of the large ones, and Sheehan has drawn out from under it her life-sized photo – she has become the object itself.  But later, when the wall is re-erected and the photo is draped over it, she takes it down and screws it up, reclaiming her identity. There’s humour too, when Sheehan turns a couple of molos into an easy chair and opens out another to read as a book.

Concrete Impermanence has its longueurs — a sequence with the two men in a shelter which rocks from side to side could well be edited down, for instance — but the central idea of change in both objects and people emerges clearly. And the dancing is terrific.

A reminder that ADT is hosting an Open Day on Saturday, May 19 to show off their very own new premises in the wonderfully refurbished Odeon Theatre in Queen Street, Norwood, just off The Parade.

Alison Currie’s Concrete Impermanence continues at the Space Theatre until May 18.

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