Hofesh Shechter II: “Show”.
Lyric Hammersmith, London.
8 May 2018.
Review by Primrose MacFay.
In his latest work, Hofesh Shechter confirms, as ever, his thrilling inventiveness as both a choreographer and a composer. With his usual multi-layered irony and dark humour, he turns our familiar conceit of “the world as a stage” into a circus of nightmare clowns – looking much like ourselves – who endlessly repeat an obsession with murderous performance. The show goes on until, no surprise, all the players have wiped each other out.
For all its consistently vibrant beauty, “Show” is, even more than his usual fare, unapologetically in-your-face political art. If some members of the audience are impatient with the repetitious choreographic sequences, then they have missed the point. “Show” is a display of a human pattern we recognise and usually ignore; it is a description and a warning.
All Shechter’s work, while created far away from Israel, the place of his birth, is nevertheless suffused with a hypersensitivity to the political and moral issues that enter the bloodstream of anyone raised in the midst of factional turmoil. Aside from his technical and artistic brilliance, his origins go some way towards illuminating the philosophical preoccupations of his art. He explores the myriad characteristics that go to make a group’s coherent identity, the fight for its survival in an ever-hostile terrain, and equally, the existential question of whether futile attempts to survive warrant the trauma of mortal struggle. He shows the total annihilation that is the horrific outcome of universal self-defence and belligerence. As usual in his pieces, while the narrative may require a particular character to step forward occasionally, significantly, there is no lead dancer. He is interested in the group, whether or not divided, as a polis.
This is another success for Hofesh Schechter’s company, or in this case, for “Shechter II”, his cleverly named apprentice programme for outstanding young dancers. They present a challenge to anyone attempting to distinguish between Shechter’s seasoned, standing company and these relative newbies to the land of Hofesh. The difference is hard to find not only because of his careful control over how much he demands of them and his optimisation of their strengths, but because they already are uniformly superb dancers and a joy to watch.
Show: The Entrance; Clowns; Exit.
Choreography and Music: Hofesh Shechter.
Lighting: Lee Curran and Richard Godin.
Costumes: Laura Rushton.
Rehearsal director: Chien Ming Chang
Shechter II dancers:
Robinson Cassarino, Emma Farnell-Watson, Natalia Gabrielczyk, Adam Khazhmuradov, Neal Maxwell, Zunnur Sazali, Juliette Valerio, Riley Wolf.
Performances 8 – 12 May 2018 at the Lyric Hammersmith, London.
Review by Primrose MacFay, 8 May 2018.