THEATRE / Why Things Happen - ICA, London SW1

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The Independent Culture
Ian Spink's Second Stride have come to be accepted as part of the wave of new British theatre that embraces all forms and eschews all labels. Here, movement seems almost peripheral to text (Marty Cruickshank), design (Antony McDonald) and music (Bach). While making a film about a musician, Greg, a verbose Australian video director, recalls his love affair with a dancer, Paula. He talks of atoms and energy; the musician deconstructs Bach's Sonata No 1, and the dancer traces her emotions in movement. The dislocated stream of consciousness that follows is more suitable for the therapist's couch than public consumption, and there does seem something absurdly cock-eyed about a piece that sets out to equate the terrible beauty of nuclear fusion with the petty squabbles and emotional angst of a relationship between rather childish adults. But, against the odds, the piece works, gradually discarding its cool distancing effects and building to an emotional crescendo that reveals a dreadful symmetry in past and present histories and the date of Greg's birth, 9 October 1957 - the day of the first Australian nuclear test explosion.

Performed again tonight (071-930 3647).

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