Laurie Booth has been well and truly tangoed. Never mind little orange men who come up and slap you about the head. He‘s been got by the real thing — the steamy, sweat—laden Argentinian dance form that has been around longer than any of your sweet. sticky. fizzy drinks. Better known for his experimental approach to movement and his use of improvisation and martial arts than his love of social dances, this shaven-haired Nonh London choreographer has fallen head over heels for a couple dance that he reckons is the best thing since spinning on your head.
‘lt's the first time l‘ve worked with a set of steps that are already in existence.‘ says Booth about his latest piece. '12"ng Mir/alums. ‘but although the tango is a very sophisticated vocabulary. it‘s also an improvisational style which manages to be very spontaneous.‘ His first real experience of tango came at the Dance Film Festival in Frankfurt last year. Having watched 293 films in two days of dancers flinging themselves about Eurocrash style. he was finally inspired by four tango films from .»'\rgentina. ‘They just seemed so head and shoulders above everything else.‘ he says.
Returning to London, Booth decided to put himself and his dance company through a series of tango workshops. Before long. he was hooked on the unbridled passion of a dance-form that polite Argentinian society has tried and failed for decades to stamp out. He joined forces with leading Argentinian
Bound to please: Laurie Booth and partner in Tango Variations tango quartet. Cuatteto Cedron and electronic sound artist Hans Peter Kuhn. and 'lango Variations was born. "fango says everything there is to say
about relationships.‘ says Booth. ‘In the
past ten years there has been a rush of duct work in contemporary dance. l’cople making statements about the alienation of modern relationships. I find it naive and simplistic. i can‘t believe everyone has had that experience. In tango there‘s a respect for the partner. You can‘t do it without being able to communicate. without
being able to focus on the person
you‘re dancing with. The psychology
of tango is — do we or don‘t we have
sex‘.’ A simple but complex question.‘ Booth recalls the advice given to one
member of his company by a tango
master. ‘You have to dance with me as
if you want to have sex. but your
tongue has been cut out . . . the dance is saying it all.‘ (Ellie Carr)
72mg“ Wirialiuns. Laurie Boot/1 and (‘mnpmz_v. lfdinlmrg/z Festival Theatre. Thurs 25 May.
Let’s play risk
Personal interface: Fallen Angels
Love hurts, especially in the world of Fallen Angels, Fecund Theatre’s explosive work, seen here in a somewhat truncated form last Fringe. It is a smack-in-the-face fusion of six or seven different forms, chucked into a multi-media melting pot and whisked around a bit, then spewed out kicking with sweaty life. The play Itself uses sex as a metaphor for how we in the West look to transcend our everyday experience, as a pair of thrill-seekers urge each other on to
ever darker excesses. Something taken from personal
experience, perchance? Well, Director John Keats first got the idea on a visit to Thailand, where sex shifts more units than MFI. ‘I was visiting my
brother,’ explains Keats, ‘and was taken into the Thai community. Here I saw the sex industry from quite a bizarre angle. The fetish clubs there are really explicit.’
On his return, Keats and the company workshopped ideas, weaving in the erotic classic The Story 0f 0, along with Lenny Bruce as an outrageous icon figure, and setting it all to a thumping techno beat. State of the art video and clubby lighting complete a spectacle on the verge of overload.
Formed two-and-a-half years ago, the London-based company took inspiration from club culture in a genuine attempt to ‘create a vocabulary for our own generation. If you’ve grown up with magazines like in and The Face you’re going to look at things differently from the previous generation. That’s why we use all these different forms. We’re not claiming to represent anyone though.’
‘Shit’ is how Keats bluntly describes last year’s version of Fallen Angels. ‘We had a hotch-potch of themes which had nowhere to go, like a collage,’ he adds. ‘llow there’s much more of a narrative, though we still work from an emotional centre. It’s a far tighter piece, though it still might change again. It helps keep a vitality to things if you never put a full stop on anything.’ (lleil Cooper)
Fallen Angels, Fecund Theatre, Paisley Arts Centre, Fri 26; Theatre Workshop, Edinburgh, Mon 29/Tue 30.
Tron Theatre, Glasgow until 28 May. It may be 300 years since Moliere outraged French society with his scarifying satire on hypocrisy and piety, but as long as there are charlatans and credulous tools to do their bidding, Tartuffe remains universally relevant. It seems, then, a trifle unnecessary to radically alter the setting of the play, and Liz Lochhead’s adaptation into rhyming Scots creates a few problems of credibility itself. Set in a post-war Scottish town, it shows the eponymous monster insinuating himself into the petty bourgeois household of the gullible and pious Drgon, who is so enamoured of the impostor that he offers him his daughter’s hand - and the rest. As all but Drgon can see through Tartuffe’s protestations of holiness, the comedy is built around attempts to expose the truth before disaster descends.
Although at times it threatens to collapse into bedroom farce, the play is often very funny, with Kathryn Howden as the canny housemaid Dorine and Sandy Welch in the title role carrying off most of the comic laurels. However, there is something unbalanced about the production: can this lower-middle class family, with its battered upright piano and kitschy ornaments (including the ubiquitous Scotty dog calendar) really afford an unpaying guest, let alone a live-in domestic? At times it’s difficult to shake off this nagging contradiction, just as it’s difficult to locate the action, with the script employing Glaswegian patter, Lallans diction and the odd bit of Doric. When Tartuffe appeared in full Lodge regalia to howls of laughter, I realised that such quibbles are probably irrelevant — even the Dutch couple sitting nearby seemed to be enjoying themselves, tho’ whit they thocht it wiz about is any yin’s guess. (David Harris)
Seen at Tramway, Glasgow. Tours to Edinburgh and Paisley.
‘Mon amour!’ sighs the woman. ‘Mon trésor!’ purrs the man. Annie and Daniel are peasants in love. But all is not well. Annie yearns for freedom; Daniel has a secret, and worst of all they can’t seem to make a baby. Unable to discuss their problems, they privately torment themselves. Finally, Annie seeks a miracle - not from the chaste Chapelle du Chéne, but from the dark, erotic fountain of Lady floire. . .
Michele Roberts’s bilingual play is a pastoral fertility table which might have been simple - almost twee - in the telling. Instead, Scots/Canadian company Theatre Cryptic have striven to create an elaborate spectacle. Sublime live music from Anthea lladdow and David Paul Jones, magnificent singing from Marianne Cotterlll, and Paul Sorley’s moody lighting contribute much to the atmosphere, but most remarkable are Alex Blgg’s hinged plywood cutouts, which portray hills, shrines, animals,
Renee Madeleine le Guerrier in Child-Lover: ‘both earthy and elegant '
gravestones, village skylines, and the couple’s barren hearth. The cast of four are both earthy and elegant, revelling in vocal and physical experimentation - clearly, director Cathie Boyd has led a fruitful collaboration.
The danger is — while individual images and set-pieces command admiration, even awe - tricksy staging sometimes needlessly disjoints delivery, rendering the narrative episodic, and discouraging involvement. There’s no shortage here of invention, beauty or discipline, but some streamlining would ice the cake. (Andrew Burnet)
Citizens’ Theatre, Glasgow, until Sat 21).
The wild boy Caspar Hauser has fascinated artists since his discovery upon the streets of Nuremberg in 1828, yet Robert David MacDonald’s wordy Persons Unknown conveys little of that enduring appeal.
Bedraggled and almost mute, Caspar is adopted by the bourgeois townsfolk as a vanity mirror reflecting their various desires, regarded alternately as Bousseau-esque noble savage, repository of original sin, paragon of delinquency and sexual plaything. But to the audience he remains curiously unenigmatic, a pale marionette gawping expressionistically and sneering like John Hurt’s Caligula. Quite how he acquired this supercilious air is not apparent: perhaps there’s something in the rumour that he is an abandoned princeling, incarcerated from birth to subvert the line of succession. Following his murder by a mysterious stranger, Caspar the friendless ghost reappears and explains all — at great length.
‘lee me very little of a man and I can invent the rest,’ says the desiccated dowager for whom the foundling is a grass-green corruptible. MacDonald leaves most of the invention to the audience, meanwhile overstating the other characters. An insistent ominous gong punctuates each scene-change, much as a side- drum and cymbal accompany a vaudeville artist’s telegraphed punchlines, and after an excess of expository monologues one begins to sympathise with Caspar’s tight-lipped indifference. (David Harris)
52 The List 19 May-l Jun 1995