XD (4 stars)

This article is from 2013


Italian performance art absurdities work a treat

The programme at Dance Base is never short of odd but welcome surprises, and 2013 is no exception. The biggest one this Fringe is this delightfully dead-pan dose of neo-vaudevillian post-modern absurdity from the young experimental Italian company CollettivO CineticO.

The title, XD, is derived from the widely-used smiley-face emoticon. Loaded with pop-culture references, everything in the piece – from a buck-naked Spider-Man impersonator, a dental-conscious yoga practitioner and a laughing lamb-in-a-bag to some self-busting balloon heads, a toothpaste-squirting competition and much more – occurs within a variety of square frames.

This single gimmick never loses its kick, mainly because the lone female and three male cast members set up and execute their bonkers, prop-heavy tasks with a rib-tickling combination of purposeful concentration and crack comic timing. The quartet may not actually dance all that much, but their highly fit and exposed bodies are no little compensation. Their off-the-wall collective brain might be just about as attractive. For anyone happy to be amused but also bemused, this smartly silly show is close to a must-see.

Dance Base, 225 5525, until 17 Aug (not 12), times vary, £8.


  • 4 stars

XD is an emoticon that represents a smiling face, massively used in blogs, chat rooms and in general in the written telecommunications. This piece shapes space and time in the structure of a comic. The stage is cut apart in small frames of visual space establishing with the spectator a contract that allows them to see…