Arthur Pita's Camp is set in an artificial wilderness that spreads out into the auditorium. Pinky-green plastic toads perch on the steps. The cast lurk in the space under the raked seating, lit with a camp-fire glow.
Camp is Pita's first full-length show. He danced for Matthew Bourne's Adventures in Motion Pictures before founding his own company, Open Heart. Camp was a hit last summer, and now returns to this theatre.
Five dancers trudge into the wilderness, dragging luggage and hi-tech tents. They boss and manipulate each other, fall into messy relationships and out as the four seasons pass. Pita uses Nigel Kennedy's recording of Vivaldi, played straight and with variations.
There's a lively theatricality to his choreography. He starts with a bare stage. Chahine Yavroyan lights the walls with patterns, leaf shadows and branches. The dancers start with definite personalities, which change with the seasons.
The show starts with Rachel Lopez de la Nieta insisting that she is happy, going on about her spiritual rebirth as they unpack. The words are fun, but the body language is better: Nietastands between Tiziana Fracchiolla's Italian princess and the smitten Michaël Pomero, while Robin Dingemans plunges into his tent and returns as an overgrown boy scout, explaining how to tie knots.
In spring, all these dancers start changing their clothes, strutting to be admired. Fracchiolla hunts through her Chanel suitcase, then launches into a duet with Pomero. Pita cuts between physical theatre and dance. His duets and trios are full of grapples and slides. With Pomero and Fracchiolla, it's an extended grope. In summer, the other dancers turn her tent into a wedding dress. She looks and behaves like a demanding goddess.
The three men keep turning into trees, in graceful curves. In autumn, they strip and drop dry leaves. In winter, Fracchiolla hangs icicles on Pomero. It's not the only death: Dingemans leads a wild autumn dance, and then the others turn on him. Pita slides between comedy and ideas of death and rebirth. It's a charismatic performance.
To 14 May (020-7387 0031)Reuse content