Friday, November 16, 2007

'Must' is a must!

Work by the Clod Ensemble always defies glib genre assignment, and their new performance piece ‘Must’ is no exception. It’s probably best described as a confrontational monologue, delivered by the gender-ambiguous Peggy Shaw, with some parts set to images and live music. Shaw’s theme is bones: the skeletons of animals, the sucking and crunching of chicken bones, and her own bones – redolent with memories both innate and acquired. Shaw addresses us, in the small space of the Wellcome Collection’s forum, as if we are, at first, strangers and then lovers. She is De Neroesque in more than her looks, with a hypnotic stage presence enhanced by the choreographed lighting effects. The result is unnerving and energising. 'I have 13 bodies and this is just one of them,' says Shaw, utterly plausibly.

'Must' was ably complemented by the first part of a new series of performances called 'Under Glass'. Sachi Kimura 'dances' in a large glass jar which suggests both womb and scientific specimen. There are six more vessels to come in the series which has been commissioned by Sadler's Wells.

The second showing of 'Fantastic Voyage' at the Wellcome Collection on 22 November is sold out, but it's worth being on the lookout for other opportunities to see this and future installments in the series.

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