Deloitte Ignite, Royal Opera House, London

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The Independent Culture

Deloitte Ignite opened up the Royal Opera House in a weekend festival of contemporary art. Evening concerts were cheaply priced; events during the day were all free. The performances and installations went from the inventive to the bland.

This year's star curator was the pianist and composer Joanna MacGregor. She chose the theme of the forest, giving a fairy-tale atmosphere to many of the exhibits.

By far the strongest performance came from Phoenix Dance Theatre. Aletta Collins's new work, Maybe Yes Maybe, Maybe No Maybe worked splendidly in this space. A dancer shouted into a hanging microphone, bringing the drifting audience to attention with a jolt. Other dancers joined him in springy, combative steps. They created and reacted to sounds, shushing each other or flinching from a buzz like a wasp.

Freddie Opoku-Addaie provided a whimsical new work. His dancers withdrew into themselves. One man juggled, so absorbed that he didn't notice people around him, even when a woman climbed up his body.

Dancers from the Royal Ballet appeared in two duets. Ludovic Ondiviela's Duplicity started with masked dancers and a solemn voiceover proclaiming "To thine own self be true". The steps were conventional, but Claire Calvert danced elegantly. Liam Scarlett's Consolations had nicely assertive performances from Paul Kay and Leanne Cope.

In a new work by Sarah Dowling, dancers in beige frilly knickers were sold off by an auctioneer with a megaphone, while a live band played. Perhaps Dowling means to be satirical about the consumption of art, but the work has no bite.

The art installations were another mixed bunch. There was a forced theatricality to the forest of costumes strewn around the Crush Bar. The forest scene in the Linbury Studio Theatre was better: bark underfoot and gamelan-inspired works by John Cage and Steve Reich.