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Skilla RajalinAlpha Misfits

Johnny Aubrey-BentleyWhen Trees Fall

Fabio Pronesti I wonder if this may be held

What happens when adults play? Alpha Misfits is embellished with virtuosic, sibling-like play and a smorgasbord of objects indicative of childhood and our ability as humans to live in excess. The layering of identities as audio score and diminishing of costume, takes us on a curious journey of self. This scaffolding reflects suppressing or rescuing one’s inner child. Crushing the fragility of one’s inner child as the performers stomp on a cardboard artwork and rearrange their playground through promising pathways. They reach a somber end with a solo by Lewis Walker that displays rhythmic and gestural nuance. Alpha Misfits is a fever dream. A trajectory of self-actualisation, life flashing before your eyes. I am hopeful that with further intentionality in tone and dramaturgy, it may be even more radical.

Fabio Pronestì
and Lorenzo Tombesi sit in the emotion of being together, in I Wonder If This May Be Held. Their walking seamlessly develops into running and sweeping arm movements across the space, reminiscent of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s Fase, in its distilled nature. The performers are hyper-aware as they choreograph our gaze like a tennis match, back and forth. As they hug and linger on a gesture framing their navel centres, a place of personal power, I wonder how the sensitivity of this connection can further inform what follows. The work certainly brews a warmth within us as we witness their relationship and how it unanimously moves us.

Ed Mitchell
opens When Trees Fall with a quirky solo that invites us into domestic bliss. Weightless as he responds to the vibrant score, revealing hints of what resembles fluid Krumping. The other performers compliment this with an abstracted duet further exploring their slice of life. This illusion shatters as the mood of their world darkens. The grotesque and distorted movement quality and green netting exposed through the performers' clothes, alludes to an ominous shift representing the Covid19 pandemic to me, infecting life as we knew it. Though pleasant to see the performers entangle through one another, their solo performances offer more gravitas and I believe that perhaps with deeper investigation the entire work could fully land too.

Francesca Matthys

Enough toys, books and balls to fill a department of Hamleys were fanned out in diagonal lines from a lonely mattress. Seated in the front row of one side of an “in the round” audience, I faced a menacing line of teddy bears (a stuffed pooch and a bizarre crossbreed unicorn-zebra also in the mix). However, thoughts of Chucky disappeared as they became the victims, trodden on and kicked (one brown bear slid under my seat) by the three charismatic Alpha Misfits; The Royal Society for the Protection of Teddies should be told. In a repeated opening voiceover, each of the trio gave the same name and biography apart from the varying fast times of their respective births. It was a neat intro to a work that explored identity through joyful play and aggressive, often distorted and hyper-flexible movement. Another clever innovation was to project the closing credits from above onto the mattress. Alpha Misfits was full of thoughtful ideas.

The performance space for Fabio Pronestì’s duet for himself and Lorenzo Tombesi was marked out in a taped rectangle, like a sporting arena, and they began in the manner of an athletic beep test with the pair walking from side to side, getting faster and adding turns and backwards walking to the action. Their movement accelerated in ebullience, aggression and speed before calming into a loving hug. This simple and honest work was enlivened by the engaging chemistry between its two performers.

When Trees Fall
brought the programme to a close with another excellent piece about identity, this time idealised through the interconnectivity of trees. This imagery of a natural environment was emphasised by Fanete Perrineau’s web-like knitwear, poking out from drab blue-grey costumes like a second skin; and a soundscape that included thunderstorms. Jonny Aubrey-Bentley was credited as composer but there was no choreographic credit, an oddity since this piece included memorable phrases of pure dance and striking tableaux, spectacularly enhanced by pools of blue light.

Graham Watts