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Guest review 3: Steve McCarthy on merry.go.round

Thu 25 May 2017

Guest review 3: Steve McCarthy on merry.go.round

Are there extra seats on the stage? I asked my mate Camille, no I think those are the dancers' she says. A cursory review of the five members of the troupe told me they were indeed Swedish, or mostly swede-ish? This told me I was in the right place at least, a couple of days of heartache and too much sun had made me a little less than observant, let alone present in my surroundings. The warm lights illuminated the stage, and five bodies slid off five deftly mismatched chairs and began to tumble over themselves slowly across the stage.

Or at least that’s what I assume happened because I was still taking note of how well selected the chairs were, how the dancers' clothes seemed minimal but tasteful, the textures and colours of the set design, and the random objects in it were so achingly cool it wouldn’t look out of place in a Kinfolk spread or an Ikea commercial, could this be an Ikea commercial? Am I a horrible person for even thinking that? I’m really enjoying this performance, but if it was an Ikea ad, is that such a bad thing? It would be a really strange commercial for sure, people would definitely remember this Ikea ad, maybe they’ve done one already?... The performers have tumbled all the way to the other-side of the of the stage, they have begun to orbit each-other, my brain is looking for something, anything at all to latch on to, the stage is sparse, their movements are simple and repetitive, I’m searching for meaning, my head is elsewhere but my heart is absolutely engaged.

Yesterday was my birthday, and today we went for dinner in the Pig’s ear, I was feeling blue and Camille was taking me out to cheer me up I think, and it worked, her starter was really impressive. They had taken what was an everyday dish, goats cheese and vegetables, what you might call feel good food, and deconstructed it, there was no real context for why they did this, but it was clear to anyone that it was beautiful to look at, every morsel elevated as if painted on a canvas with intent, carefully reducing every element until the only way to understand its artistry was to devour it. Orbiting closer and closer, it seemed two performers had gradually transcended their simple movements and entered into a dance, like two celestial bodies now having become intertwined they were about to enter a state of push and pull, having built from broad repeating movements they were now caught in each-others' orbit. It might have been the day that was in it, but I inferred correctly that only chaos would follow these two fighting each-other’s powerful gravity. My head never did make sense of it all, I came out of the Beckett theatre with no good words to explain it. But I knew exactly how it felt.