Dance: Christopher Bruce's `Swansong' is performed by the Rambert Dance Company at the Peacock Theatre, Portugal St, London WC2 (0171-314 8800) on 25-27 and 29 Mar

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The Independent Culture
A figure in jeans slumps in a chair, a couple in khaki shirts and trousers begin to tease and torment him in an extended Vaudeville routine of police brutality. The work is Christopher Bruce's Swansong, a popular and critical success since its premiere in 1987 now performed regularly by Rambert Dance Company. Early in its life Bruce thought of a way of reinvigorating the piece: sex changes. They have already experimented with an all-female cast, the latest twist is to have a mixed-gender trio.

Christopher Bruce, now artistic director of Rambert, is excited about the development. "Even though I made it for three men I enjoyed playing with the change of gender because with each different cast, the characters of the performers change the piece. With each new cast I've seen it differently. With this cast I've got a female victim with two interrogators - one male, one female, and there's a different kind of byplay between the two interrogators'.

Rambert are bringing a mixed bill to the Peacock Theatre on Tuesday with Didy Veldman as the victim and Simon Cooper and Hope Muir as the interrogating double act. Does Bruce ever feel tempted to introduce an element of sexual politics and have the victim one sex and the policemen another? "I don't think it would work. It would take on a sexual significance which I don't think would be relevant to what the piece is about." Reducing Swansong to a mere sex war would be too narrow a reading. "I love to leave the audience the freedom to interpret." That said, there is no knowing what an audience is capable of. "I used a mixed cast in Houston and there was one quite elderly couple sat there after the show - they didn't move during the interval. One said to the other `Oh my Gaad! Her mom and dad were really giving her a hard time'."

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