Impassioned performance

Theatre: TMU NA; BAC, London
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The Independent Culture
Tmu Na is Hebrew for "images in motion" and although the Israeli ensemble's impassioned performance contains slithers of dialogue, their actions speak louder than words. In a relentless flurry of running, clasping and writhing, a succession of friends, lovers, mothers and daughters collide, cling to each other and part. The company captures their relationships in an ever-changing fresco of images offering physical distillations of traumatised emotional states. On Moshik Jospehof's multi-levelled set, they sound a gamut of notes from the chillingly acute to the numbingly trite.

But Nava Zukerman's work is no contextless dance-theatre piece. Inspired by the siege of the Savoy Hotel in Tel Aviv in 1975, and littered with an array of contemporary, historical and mythological references, the piece explores the Jewish quest for belonging that haunts even the homeland of Israel. Like Tmu Na's previous performance Real Time, set on the eve of the Yom Kippur war, the focus is trained on the frenzied couplings of a handful of scarred individuals. Fellow survivors, they return to Transit Hotel after 20 long years.

If there is a clear line running through the production, it is remembrance: both the importance of "never forgetting" and the need to evolve ways to bear the weight of the past. The hotelier's lame daughter Daniella (Tamar Dilenberger) can forgive her father who abandoned her but Bella, a cosmopolitan caricature, wants war heroes and official ceremonies. When Raphael (Meir Dayan) returns unexpectedly from America to try to obliterate past horrors in an amorous night with a Russian gentile, he unleashes a torrent of memories.

On to this, often disorienting, emotional minefield, Zukerman scatters another chain of images. A huddle of bodies cram into a hotel trolley that eerily mutates into a cage - among them is a man in striped pyjamas. The resonances are unmistakable. Although Tmu Na are charting the alienation of a second-generation Israel, the company's use of Holocaust imagery trails perilous shades of false victimisation.

Murray Gold's atmospheric musical score lends the performance a certain grit, but the robust choreography coupled with the ubiquitous elegiac note is no compensation for dramatic inertia.

n BAC to 2 July (0171-223 2223)

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