Steve Reich Project (3 stars)

This article is from 2019

Steve Reich Project

credit: Danny Willems

Curious, intermittently effective hybrid of movement and music

Belgian director, choreographer and visual artist Isabella Soupart collaborated with the members of MP4 Quartet for this curious and intermittently effective hybrid production. The work draws upon three of Steve Reich's compositions: 'Different Trains', a propulsive and layered evocation of his Jewish-American childhood during World War Two; 'WTC 9/11', dating from two decades later and pinned to the September 11 terrorist atrocities in the United States; and, sandwiched in between, 'Pendulum Music.'

In the first and longest section, a dancer (Shantala Pèpe, who will be replaced at some point during the run) dashes sharply around the stage, sometimes speaking – largely unintelligibly, it has to be said – into a microphone that she also swings about. Meanwhile the expressionless players saw away at their instruments while also shifting location depending on where Pèpe positions their music stands. The action is pretty po-faced and Teutonic, qualities that mark the performance as a whole.

Excellent musicianship is the saving grace along with, in the middle segment, Kurt D'Haeseleer's eerily distressed video of people who appear to be progressing forward on a beach at an alarmingly slanted angle. Near the close, there's also a welcome apotheosis of sorts, as Pèpe spins and spins as if trying to understand what has happened to herself and the world.

Dance Base, until 18 Aug (not 12), 7.20pm, £13 (£11).

Steve Reich Project

  • 3 stars

Isabella Soupart / MP4 Quartet A truly trance-inducing performance inspired by three masterpieces from Steve Reich, interpreted by the new generation. A string quartet and a dancer will sweep you away in the powerful confrontation of dance and music amidst hypnotic images and soundscapes. Choreographer Isabella Soupart…

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