Resolution closes its 2024 run with a sold-out evening, a strong finish to this season of new choreography. “It began like this”: with drum sets and three performers on stage, in striking red and white costumes. From the get-go, the audience giggles at the complicity of the performers as they exchange glances. Between repeating tunes, repeating moves, and repeating words, we are given a contagious demonstration of live percussion that is as rowdy as it is lively. You Do You (a work in progress) builds on simple choreography that crescendos continually, dynamically matched with the hypnotic sound of the drums. It gives us the feel of a growing revolution on par with its theme. Overall, a delight to experience.
The spotlight hits downstage left, where a single dancer bends over backwards, almost lying lifeless. A soft gramophone fills the space with soft piano keys. When she stands, her gaze goes through us, even as her counterpart walks on stage behind her. Magnetoreception, a piece that delves into the fabric of human connections, illustrates the push/pull of any relationship through the sophistication of duet partners in absolute synchronicity. Simple in its intimate narrative, the piece could have benefited from stripping back its theatrical elements, as the flashy lights and hairstyle changes felt at odds with the choreography and performance qualities on display.
Compete For Me is undeniably a deeply personal undertaking for choreographer/performer Lewis Walker. In a dystopian atmosphere of sterile laboratory meets gymnastics gymnasium, the rawness of Walker’s literal and metaphorical nakedness leaves nothing to the imagination. The audience seems eager to laugh – do they feel as exposed as Walker looks? Adding layers of acrobatic demonstrations to extravagant costuming choices, and the unmissable chalk square drawn on the stage floor, this performance feels like a collage in a scrapbook of all things camp. Though this particular style of physical theatre and performance art may not be for everyone, Walker was met by a standing ovation from a highly enthusiastic crowd.
In the programme note for You Do You, ThisEgg promises that they’re “not going to start a riot”. They keep their word: for the majority of this work-in-progress piece, Josie Dale-Jones and Linzy Na Nakorn walk in diagonal and circular pathways around the space with a surprising nonchalance for a work pondering the theme of revolution. Over time, impactful knee thrusts, elbow jabs, and hip twists punctuate their easygoing motions, and literal sparks fly when they ignite cigarette lighters. Yet it’s the on-stage drumming provided by Hannah Ledwidge that provides the real fire, her rousing rhythms propelling the dancers onwards. While it remains unclear exactly what they’re rallying against, the phrase “Anyone else got nothing to say?” projected on the back wall at the end of the show is a playful, self-aware nod to the fact ThisEgg might not be sure either.
While it seeks to explore “a rollercoaster of emotions”, Odyl Creations’ duet Magnetoreception lacks a clear narrative. As a result, the frequent pained facial expressions, stares to the audience, and exasperated facial grabs executed by performers Sarah Hirsch and Philip McDermott feel somewhat over-dramatized. Yet, when they come into contact, their inventive partnerwork steals the show. Hirsch rolls around McDermott’s body with impressive ease: one minute she’s across his knee, the next she’s standing on his shoulders. Her long blue dress by costume designer Florence Meredith adds greatly to the overall effect, fluttering behind her and augmenting her rapid rotations.
Walker, a former team GB gymnast, forces their nude body into challenging handstands, splits, and balances in Compete For Me. Two stony-faced figures document (on cameras and clipboards) their every move, while another mechanically counts the duration of their poses, ordering them to go “up”, “down”, and “rest”. Walker feels like their scientific specimen, yet things change when a glamorous character emerges from the audience to help them into a silk dress and a strap on a pony-tail headpiece. This transformation helps Walker find freedom in movement—a heartwarming yet perhaps too sudden transition. As they strut and backflip across the stage with increased confidence and joy, my mind is still fixated on Compete For Me’s initially dystopian environment. I can’t help but think it would be a little harder to move on from than Walker is conveying.