One Up One Down (3 stars)

This article is from 2009.

One Up One Down

Single consumerist satire, GSOH, seeks breathing space

Natasha Gilmore’s latest work continues her crusade to create accessible, comic-tinged dance-theatre that engages with contemporary issues. This is a satire on the pressures of consumer culture on women, with three impossibly lovely, pink-clad dancers bullied and manipulated into models of femininity by an unctuous salesman and each other.

For the most part, it makes some sharp hits. The choreography is stunning, the women torn between feral rampage and the grotesque tottering of puppeteered Barbie dolls, over-exerting themselves into a most unladylike sweat beneath their rose petal frocks.

However, there’s no getting away from the fact that the (excellent) dancers lack the acting training that could really illuminate a piece as text-heavy as this. Their often stilted delivery contrasts sharply with the ease with which professional actor, John Macaulay wraps his mouth around the sly salesman’s patter. The writing varies wildly in quality, too, with too many lines falling flat.

The dancers are enormously eloquent performers when wordless, and unafraid to take risks with their body work: trimming back the wordiness of this piece would allow their potent physical satire much-needed breathing space.

The Zoo, 662 6892, until 31 Aug, 12.25pm, £8 (£6).

One Up One Down

  • 3 stars

Women under pressure from our high-achieving, must-have consumer culture. Characters clash as, caught up in their quest for perfection, they sway between reluctant adoration and bitter condemnation of one another. Comic dance theatre, poetry and song deliver this poignant commentary. Gilmore reunites with Scottish…

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