Print Room and AP Productions – Jealousy – London

Jelousy. © The Print Room and AP Productions.
Jelousy. © The Print Room and AP Productions.

The Print Room & AP Productions

London, Notting Hill, The Print Room
6 and 14 February 2012

Come the end of 2012, this is likely to be one of my highlights of the year. It’s not often I see a show and then book to see the same cast immediately again or pester others to go. The reason is that Jealousy works on so many different levels – site-specific work at a great site, interesting drama and the sheer enjoyment of the physicality involved. Chuck in good lighting, interesting wide-ranging score and £20 tickets for best seats in the house and you can’t go wrong.

The Print Room is a new theatre space in West London and with 60 or so seats in the house it’s very intimate. Seeing dancers this near I’m always reminded of Einstein’s quote: “Dancers are the athletes of God”. The control of limbs, the sweat, the breathing (never panting!) is a wonder to behold this close to and with the audience arranged around 4 sides of the stage you all have a ‘perfect’ view. This alone is worth the price of the ticket.

Snatches of the work interspersed with choreographer interviews. Held on YouTube/ThePrintRoomTheatre.

Jealousy is headlined a collaboration between dance and sculpture. The work is based on Alain Robbe-Grillet’s 1950’s book Jealousy. As the notes say, “Robbe-Grillet’s writing style defies conventional story-telling techniques of characterisation and linear plot.” Essentially Jealousy is about a Husband, his wife and her lover. The all suspended (and prone to move) sculpture, by visual artist, Laurence Kavanagh, is the outline of the family home suggested by odd paper doors, angles that define unseen walls, strong lighting, Venetian blinds and a balustrade all around which the audience sit immediately behind. The plan is semi-symmetrical but you all see a different take on proceedings and effectively each become our own author.

Jack Jones and Amy Drew in Jealousy. © Idil Sukan/Draw HQ.
Jack Jones and Amy Drew in Jealousy. © Idil Sukan/Draw HQ.

The dance comes from four emerging choreographers. Daniel Hay-Gorden creates for himself as the Husband – twisted and yet expansive movement and a character that often quietly recedes into the background gloom when the wife and lover emerge. Hubert Essakow creates on two dancers as the wife, echoing their movement but also one leading the other, at times emphatic and other times just detachedly observing the inner turmoil. The lovers are choreographed on two separate pairs of dancers by Morgann Runacre-Temple and James Cousins. Runacre-Temple has created a few narrative works now, most notably a good solid Romeo and Juliet for Ballet Ireland and more recently a delightful Scheherazade that ought to be better known (it would be a great piece for Northern Ballet). Here she uses a Ravel solo piano and dancers, Amy Drew and Jack Jones, to explore the house leaving resonances of their developing love swaying all over: nothing prurient and it seems to be the early, unsure part of the relationship as they grab and manipulate each other. James Cousins, recent winner of the Matthew Bourne/New Adventures Choreographic Competition, turns in a blockbuster duet for Katie Lusby and Aaron Vickers where she never touches the floor once in many minutes of intense folding, wrapping, balancing and clever rotating all in abandoned character. Hats off to all the choreographers for individually delivering and working together to integrate and hone it all.

The Print Room is pretty unique but this piece could be put on in other spaces – Edinburgh Festival Fringe comes to mind. But still time to catch a final performance in London where it runs until tonight (18 February). A quality night for any ballet or dance lover is this.

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