THEATRE / Notices: The Love Space Demands - Cochrane Theatre, WC1

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The Independent Culture
Ntozake Shange's 'Choreopoem' is a mixed-media event, with nine poems set against a loose framework of music and dance. Focusing on the experiences of black women but drawing on an awesome range of cross-cultural references, her words ooze with earthy sensuality. Many of the poems express an eroticism as fluid and free-form as the occasional jazz backing they are afforded: their easy lasciviousness makes later references to drugs, brutality and sexual abuse all the more shocking.

Yvonne Brewster's production never quite fuses the disparate elements of the show: the work of the two dancers and the musicians (flute and double bass) remains strictly peripheral to the potent central performance of Jean 'Binta' Breeze, whose sinewy way with Shange's words brings them vibrantly alive. Design is minimal and lighting stark but effective. Examined in theatrical terms, this short piece often seems dramatically static; but it's a remarkable, lyrical experience of live poetry.

Continues to 31 October (box-office: 071-242 7040).

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