Review: The Express | Critic's Choice Column

Bound To Please


Critics' Choice column

REVIEW ... Wycombe Swan
by Tom Kyle
The Express | Apr 4 1997

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"Nauseating filth" — The Sunday Mirror. "It stinks" — The Daily Star. "An appalling way to spend public funds. People...will be sickened by this waste of their money" — Teddy Taylor MP (for the moment).

Any company which can provoke such measured reaction from such highly regarded connoisseurs of the visual arts must surely be worth watching.

Not that DV8's Bound To Please (despite the names of both this work and the 12 year-old, London-based company) is a pervert's paradise. Far from it. Any members of the dirty mac brigade present would have demanded their money back.

Bound To Please could well be seen as an exercise in sado-masochism, but in the psychological rather than the physical sense. The cruelty here is very definitely mental.

Artistic director Lloyd Newson's eight dancers (four of each sex) explore the urban deserts of alienation in, on and around a compex revolving set, hinged and bracketed to reveal and conceal a community of lost and losing souls.

Attracting and rejecting each other in a variety of suburban scenarios, they dance with both structured discipline and wild abandon; not an easy concept to master.

But mastered it is, in a context and contest of extreme physicality, by a company which prides itself on a robust and muscular presence. This is dance, not for the faint-hearted, but for those with spleen to vent.

As the programme and publicity warns, there is some nudity and some foul language. These days the "foul" language is everyday office talk. The nudity, though somewhat surprising, is hardly offensive.

Diana Payne-Myers is 67 years old. At that age, it takes courage enough just to appear on stage with the lithe, fit young dancers. Lord alone knows how much more it takes to appear on stage with them naked, in the role of a woman who is cast aside by a much younger lover.

And that's that in the moral outrage stakes. It obviously doesn't take much to upset some people.

DV8, whatever lurid tabloid reputation it may collect, is a modern dance company to be taken very seriously indeed

Disturbing, surprising, questioning — occasionally almost shocking it surely is. Nauseating and appalling it most certainly is not.


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