Cruel Garden Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Fri 29 & Sat 30 May at 1r st
Blood letting: Lorca celebrated in Cruel Garden
Death, beauty, Violence, compassion, naivety, knowrng cynicism, folk art and bizarre erotic surrealism make strange bedfellows in Christopher Bruce’s ballet Cruel Garden. Conceived and co- directed by Lindsay Kemp in 1977, the work has now been ieVived (rescued from oblivron7) as a centennial celebration of Federico GarCia Lorca's gifts as a poet and playwright, and as a powerful and poignant memorial to his death at the hands of the Falangists during the Spanish CiVil War — the homosexual martyr-poet at odds with the cruelty of the world.
Ralph Koltai’s set plays a leading role throughout: part bullring, part cafe, part Gethsemane and Golgotha — it is the stage upon which the collage of Lorca's life and work is played out. The concoction of images and events wraps religion, politics and psychology into one. Of course, at one level it is a meditation on the events surrounding Lorca's life and untimely death. But in common with all of Kemp’s work, it is more than that. The haunting Inquisitor (John Chesworth) and his henchmen, the luminous Moon (Miranda Lind), the visionary Poet (Conor O’Brien), the Mother (Patricia Hines) and those who mourn, the fugitive Gypsies and playful Harlequins (Laurent Cavanna) and others are characters found to be present in our own heads as well as on the stage; and thus the untidy bits of this theatrical jigsaw cohere.
But do archetypes readily become stereotypes and cliches? Does bold theatre too easily slip into high camp, and does a challenging work from the 19705 simply look and feel terribly dated? Cruel Garden steers an awkward path between these alternatives. 1 have my doubts about the work, but have to report the Oxford audience did not. And full marks to Rambert and London Musici, who handle Bruce’s forceful choreography and Carlos Miranda’s miraculous score with tremendous conviction and consummate professionalism. (Robert Penman)
ll Reviewed in Oxford Rambert Dance Company performs a separate Trip/e Bill at Edinburgh Festival Theatre on Wed 27 8/ Thu 28 May.
CONTEMPORARY DANCE Siobhan Davies Dance Company Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Fri 15 & Sat 16 May we as tr It was kind of ineVItable - and slightly ironical, given their lithesome and lightning-muck bodies — that SIObhan DaVies's dancers gaveEightv Eight the nickname ’Two Fat Ladies' According to Davies, the title of her new piece refers not to bingo but to the number of keys on a grand piano (only afterwards did she discover that a pianola — on which the score is played - has only 86 keys) and to the year when the company was founded. On this anniversary tour, celebrating a decade of deservedly award-filled creative life, the piece forms one half of a double-bill
Davres has set Eighty Eight to American composer Conlan Nancarrow’s dense, teasing and complex score, which he devised on a piano roll, enabling him to create layer upon layer of harmonic and rhythmic complexrty Davies has responded With structures that are equally compelling, as if the music has been beamed down into the dancers’ bodies and refracted as movement, which then fills and fills the stage. There are few laughs or smiles, but the ten dancers GHJOY themselves hugely. It seems iiiVidiOus to mention one for special praise, but Sean Feldman shines espeCially brightly, against the highly polished and expen5ive-looking pipework of Antony
Ten-year tenure: Siobhan Davies Dance Company McDonald’s set.
Winnsboro’ Cotton Mill Blues is a worthy, OIivier-award-wmning companion piece, premiered in 1992 - worthy, but slightly ponderous by comparison. It would be better presented as the warm-up act rather than the finale — presumably Davres wanted all the energy up-front. This is not to deny the piece's virtues as an evocation of the life and hard times of the cotton industry. The dancers‘ bodies - clad, you’ve guessed it, in blue and brown cotton - deftly become industrial processes. You can almost see the looms at work. (Robert Penman)
I Reviewed in Oxford.
L‘itizens' Theatre Raindog
Love, Lies, Bleeding
devised by Raindog wilh Daniel Boyle Until 23 May £8/E4
by Stephen Greenhorn 26 - 30 May £8/E4
Theatre In Action
by James Kelman 26 - 30 May £6.50/E3
0141 429 0022
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14—28 May 1998 THE usrss