Review: London Evening Standard | Liquid Refreshment

The Happiest Day Of My Life

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Love Some Liquid Refreshment

REVIEW ... Queen Elizabeth Hall
by Anne Sacks
Evening Standard, London | Friday Sep 17 1999

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With his latest piece, the director of DV8 and choreographer Lloyd Newson has created his hit of the 1990s by being true to himself. He pledges to make dance clear by using everyday movement to deliver a singular point of view. The Happiest Day of My Life is a shimmering commitment to that promise and a spectacular refinement of his technique of archaeological investigation laced with psycho-therapeutic observation.

The quest for excitement, love and romance as the answer to a dreary existence is excavated on a versatile and detailed set with many sites of action. The first act, which moves with cinematic speed, is full of surprises as we are drawn into the heady club scene. The humour is a set-up for the bleak second act, where he lands the sucker punch.

Newson turns pedestrian movement into dance, and all the motion springs from the action. Rob and Liam prime themselves for the big night by boxing, doing press-ups and lifting weights.

Liam checks his tummy for surplus fat and sprays deodorant on his feet and in his undies. The club is raucus. Liam goes to the loo in a glass room, wipes himself and is handy with aerosol once more. It doesn't help the stench. The second act is a tour de force. The tage is transformed into a pool with the married couple's living room on a platform island. The romance turns sour and the affairs begin.

The water is used metaphorically as the rapidly disintegrating couple pull each other out, trying to rescue the relationship. Rob, who is sexually and emotionally repressed, is marooned as he sits on the sinking platform. The special effects are magnificent. There is much, much more. See for yourself what great dance can be.

 

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