Rosie Kay Dance Company (3 stars)

  • 14 August 2006

This article is from 2006.

You’d need a strong cast and some pretty neat choreography to re-work American poet, Joseph Moncure March’s The Wild Party. Published in 1928, the poem follows gin-swilling party girl and Vaudeville dancing protagonist Queenie. The rhyming metres un-wrap the story of a jaded diva frustrated by love in gangster-land.

It’s an evening of sexual jealousy and violence between two couples, who dance to an inevitably messy and murderous end. Originally considered controversial due to its violent and sexual content, the poem still has resonance.

Award-winning director, choreographer and ‘Queenie’ star, Rosie Kay has enough presence, talent and charisma to pull it all off, with the support of very fine performances from three fellow dancers and a collaboration with dramaturg Ben Pyne and jazz composer Hans Koller.

Energetic and astute, the 70-minute show depicts the attention-seeking diva and her nose-picking partner who can’t quite decide if their physical attraction outweighs their ‘bored to distraction’ daily grind. Working a story within a story of performers putting on a show, this is clever stuff.

Full of atmosphere, the show manages to pack in sex, jealousy, contempt, drunken sprawls, brawls and clinches, all set to live music performed by a jazz trio who form an integral part of the cast. If you like jazz, you’ll love this. (Claire Griffiths)

Dance Base, 225 5525, until 20 Aug, times vary, £11 (£7).

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