The Impending Storm, Patrick Centre, Birmingham Hippodrome
Wednesday 02 May 2012
David Toole sits in the centre of a bed, arms reaching out. Born without legs, Toole is an extraordinary performer, charismatic and precise. There’s a sumptuous flow of movement through his powerful shoulders, while his hands are delicately articulate. Walking on his hands, he seems to caress the floor.
Toole is best known in this country for his work with DV8. For The Impending Storm, a world premiere at International Dance Festival Birmingham, he’s joined by dancer-choreographer Lucy Hind and the integrated South African dance company Remix.
Directed by Mark Storor, The Impending Storm is a rambling work. It can lose focus, but there are some strong images in its jumble of scenes.
Mpotseng Shuping stands shimmying at the side of the stage. Then she pulls herself together for a journey. Piling pillows on her head, she steps out towards Toole. The other dancers lie on the floor, holding out their hands as stepping stones. Remix is a company of dancers with and without disabilities; here, they all push themselves along the floor, holding Shuping up.
At the back of the stage, three musicians sing and play, sometimes commenting on the action. When Shuping reaches Toole, they dance a tender duet, winding each other in a long scarf that she uses as a sling to lift him. Others carry each other on their backs, folding themselves over. A second couple dance a duet in which they hold each other against the walls of the set.
The Impending Storm tends to unravel. We lose sight of Shuping’s journey, while the other dancers are given less clear identities. In one exasperating sequence, everything turns violent. Shuping tugging Lucy Hind away from her partner and into a fight, while other dancers manhandle each other and the musicians wail and shriek. It feels contrived, as if the creators felt they ought to have some conflict in there somehow.
Having got that out of the way, The Impending Storm shows an unexpected lightness of touch. Having made it across the stage, everybody ends up on the white double bed, where a pillow fight breaks out. Even the musicians join in, as the music switches to a recording of “Be Mine Tonight”. The last image is a fluffy blizzard of feathers, with a happy voice crooning from the middle of it.
Until Wednesday 2. Box office 0844.338 5000. www.idfb.co.uk
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 2 North Korean prison officers 'cooked prisoner's baby and fed it to their dogs', more horrific accounts from UN report reveal
- 3 Antonio Martin shooting: Mayor says there should be 'no comparison' to Ferguson
- 4 Antonio Martin shooting: Police and protesters clash over teenager's death just five miles from Ferguson, Missouri
- 5 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Secret Cinema showed The Great Dictator at protest secret screening, following Sony's The Interview cancellation
Best underrated Christmas movies: From Trading Places to While You Were Sleeping
Cruel Woman in Black prank sees cinema-goers terrified by movie poster - watch their reactions
Game of Thrones season five: First preview clip shows a beardy Tyrion, a moody Cersei and a distressed Arya
Angelina Jolie 'didn't eat much' in sympathy with actors who had to lose weight for Unbroken
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever