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Guest review 5: Photographer Andrew Nuding on ‘Jessica and Me’

Tue 24 May 2016

Guest review 5: Photographer Andrew Nuding on ‘Jessica and Me’

“I hate beginnings.” I nod in agreement as Cristiana Morganti begins the show, thinking about what I’m going to write for this review.

I’m sitting five rows from the front. A man at the corner of my eye signals a thumbs up and the show begins. The lights fade and the audience is left in total darkness. Morganti enters slickly.

I was surprised when the show began about how bare the stage was. I had imagined a big production with over the top props and lights – and I was glad that this was not the case. The props chosen throughout were simple and considered: an exercise mat, red stilettos that were several sizes too big, a cigarette.

Morganti talks to her alter ego ‘Jessica’ through an old tape player. She carries a handful of tapes around with her that she plays throughout the show, arguing and bickering with it. The recording of Jessica often interrupts Morganti, and at one point, frustrated, she throws the tape player off stage.

Each dance piece she performs is entirely different from the last. The music accompanying her changes dramatically: she dances to techno, classical, jazz, rock. The show is intelligent, and the script is humorous. This 70 minute show squeezes in a lot. And she even manages to have a nervous breakdown too.

What stayed with me long after I left the theatre was her use of the projector. The burning white dress. Lifting up into flames while she puffs on a cigarette and slowly disappearing back into darkness.

Morganti carries this one-woman show brilliantly. For her first solo show after moving on from Pina Bausch Tanztheater Wuppertal, Cristiana Morganti didn’t disappoint.