Edinburgh Festival '98: DANCE: LEGS ON THE WALL ASSEMBLY ROOMS

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The Independent Culture
MY HEART sank when I saw the winch. It suggested that amateurish acrobatics would be used to give a spurious air of daring and professionalism to an ordinary show with very few ideas. And so it proved. In Legs on the Wall's latest effort, six performers toss a bagged salad of circus skills, combative dance and sexual politics. The movement is pretty soggy, but the sexual politics are well past their sell-by date. We enter a familiar world in which all men are bastards - an adolescent school of feminism that surely went out with dungarees.

At one point a woman sitting on a sprung platform winched two feet into the air describes the perfections of the man in the bed beside her. As she lists his charms, a woman below gives us the subtext: "He was so strong"/ "He broke my arm". If he's that awful what's she doing in bed with him? The iniquities of the sexual exchange rate are ploddingly explained when a man is given a quickie in an alley and then cast aside. This is all supposed to be funny in a "We've all been there, haven't we girls?" way. Well, I haven't been there, and I've no plans to go.

The choreography veers between circusy shows of strength and a sort of contact-improvisation-without-the-contact. The winch finally comes into its own when a woman in a harness is repeatedly flopped on top of a sleeping man.

The verbal element was weaker than the physical but included an amusing retelling of Cinderella in Spoonerisms: "I will make you a tragic mess," says the fairy godmother. "The handsome prince was a pretty fart smeller". But even that couldn't provide an hour's worth of entertainment on its own.

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