Joe, Playhouse, Edinburgh

Nothing too special about Perreault's ordinary Joes
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The Independent Culture

The Joe of Jean-Pierre Perreault's dance piece isn't a character. He (she, it) is an abstraction, an ordinary Joe trying to escape from that other abstraction, the faceless crowd.

The Joe of Jean-Pierre Perreault's dance piece isn't a character. He (she, it) is an abstraction, an ordinary Joe trying to escape from that other abstraction, the faceless crowd.

Perreault, a leading Canadian choreographer who died in 2002, establishes that in the first five minutes, then doodles around the idea for another hour. His style involves everyday movement, with dancers often dressed in suits and boots. Joe was a signature work for his company, here making a second visit to the Festival.

The stage is bare and gloomy, with dim overhead lighting by Jean Gervais. There's a steep ramp at the back, up which the various Joes hurl themselves.

The 32 dancers, men and women, wear a uniform of suits, boots, hats and raincoats. Annie Gélinas's costumes seem designed to muffle them.

The soundtrack is the dancers' feet, tramping in heavy boots. But this isn't a percussive dance style, the boots smudge the footwork, hiding the articulation of heel or instep, and the rhythms are basic.

The dancers are well-drilled, with remarkable stamina, but there's no collective focus.

Until 18 August; 0131 473 2000

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