The Stage Review: Fusional Fragments

Photo: Irven Lewis & Dancer: Kieran StoneleyFusional Fragments
Published Monday 3 September 2012 at 11:16 by Neil Norman

Having been the propulsive heartbeat at the centre of the Olympics opening ceremony, percussionist Evelyn Glennie adds decorative layers of sound to Marc Brew’s action-packed 25-minute dance piece, Fusional Fragments. The bedrock of the work is a series of solos, duets and trios performed with speed, agility and Olympian strength by five gladiatorial dancers against Philip Sheppard’s soundtrack of percussive electronica and vocals that switch from haunting wails to prayer-like mantras. Andy Hamer’s cubes and pyramids of golden light illuminate limbs and torsos in fluid fragments, while javelins of light thrust across the stage wall. In one sequence a man moves with loris-like elegance across a tightrope of light that recalls Michael Hulls’ razor-sharp lighting designs for Russell Maliphant.

And all the while, the extraordinarily charismatic figure of Glennie traverses the stage hammering out thunderous beats from a variety of percussion instruments, or coaxing the softest whispering sounds from steel brushed on metal, temple bells or turning Japanese with the plaintive bongs of a glass bell jar. Interacting with the dancers she resembles a pagan priestess, a sorceress of sound, her long hair waving in physical harmony with the dancers as she circles and weaves around and through them awakening them to life or sonically urging them to push the limits of their physicality to the edge as they extend their limbs and fold their torsos in a fierce drama reminiscent of Wayne McGregor’s best work. Part of the Unlimited project for the 2012 Cutural Olympiad celebrating deaf and disabled artists, this is mesmerising and exciting beyond belief.


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