- Donald Hutera
- 22 August 2019
This article is from 2019
Gender and queer female identity get a first-class postmodern treatment
Amy Bell is wonderfully warm and wittily postmodern in this inclusive and aspirational solo performance pegged upon gender fluidity and female queer identity.
Balancing irony and sincerity, Bell's frequently comic but also poetic take on her chosen topics range widely from the cosmic to the personal. She talks rather a lot for a dancer, but the words are always smart, funny and notably well-delivered – whether she's guiding us into imagining the show she'd like to have made, turning into a temperament-focused weather forecaster or instructing herself (via hilarious voice-over) through a dance class that encompasses both cod-French and a spectrum of lesbian-oriented lingo.
Bell is also an attractively limber mover with a command of body language both gestural and space-embracing. What's exciting, too, from a theatre-making perspective is how she and her collaborators – principally composer/sound designer Jamie McCarthy and artist/dramaturg Hetain Patel – are playing with and pushing at the possibilities of what a performance can be. They're thinking outside many boxes here.
In an especially striking section, Bell responds to Patel's handsome, large-scale animations of limbs, which then leads to a seemingly overextended nude solo justified by a pay-off that is not just amusing but downright beautiful. All in all pretty terrific.
Dance Base, until 25 Aug, 12.30pm, £13 (£11).