Dance review: Justitia, Peacock Theatre, London

3.00

 

Jasmin Vardimon’s Justitia revolves around a murder trial – literally revolves, as Merle Hensel’s set rotates to take us from court room to crime scene. With each turn, the show plays out a different aspect of the case, replaying and rewinding the death from different angles.

Born in Israel but based in London since 1997, Vardimon mixes dance with physical theatre and text, often with a political edge. Justitia, created in 2007, shows the mix at its strongest. The zigzagging storyline reminds us how information can be twisted by context. Aoi Nakamura’s Mimi meets Luke Burrough’s Charlie, in a duet wound up in the folds of a carpet. It’s sweetly romantic, but we’re wondering what and how will go wrong. That rug will turn up as evidence.

With the trial underway, Nakamura gives a mercurial performance as the accused. Playing the same actions as a schemer, an unfaithful wife or in self-defence, she treats her husband’s friend with matey camaraderie or sexual tension. Mafalda Deville’s defending lawyer keeps cutting in, objecting to each as a twist of the facts, trying to reshape the story for the jury and the audience.

As the friend, and corpse, Paul Blackman has some of the best material. Alive or dead, he pops up out of nowhere, often against gravity, usually in mid-sentence. He leads (and bullies) manic group therapy sessions, with a swagger that goes from cruel to cheery.

The whole cast jump on and over their chairs in driving unison numbers, climbing the walls to express their trains of thought. Everyday movement opens out into jumps and wrestling partnering, muscular and tough.

Justitia can be baggy, with multiplying side-tracks and stylised setpieces. Vardimon’s own recurring solo, a woman typing, slows down the action. Deville’s memory of a car accident is touchingly played, but seems to have wandered in from another show. Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s script is sometimes sharp, sometimes wordy, very determined to set up Biblical parallels.

Vardimon’s finest scenes are cleverly layered. Attacking a witness’s testimony, the lawyer works her like a puppet in a sexist character-assassination. The gender assumptions are more pointed because Deville is a woman while the witness is danced by Estéban Fourmi, a man in drag. Throughout, Vardimon’s dancers are athletic and heartfelt, distinctive in movement and characterisation.

Until 22 September. Box office 0844 412 4300

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Wonder.land Musical by Damon Albarn

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment

Film review

Arts and Entertainment
Innocent victim: Oli, a 13-year-old from Cornwall, featured in ‘Kids in Crisis?’
TV review
News
Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment

 

film review
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
    10 best statement lightbulbs

    10 best statement lightbulbs

    Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
    Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
    Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

    Dustin Brown

    Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
    Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
    Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

    Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

    Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
    John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

    Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

    'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
    Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

    Forget little green men

    Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
    Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

    Dying dream of Doctor Death

    Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy