New Ballet Club’s Knowing Anna is not ballet but street dance – or rather, a musical-theatre version of it. The eleven dancers have the look of stage-school graduates and the choreography follows West End virtues: narrative clarity, emotional directness, disciplined but entertaining dance sequences. The story is about fame and its discontents: a circle of autograph-hunters tightens into a noose of adulation; the snappy rhythms of a trio of sharkish managers feel like the brutal buzz of publicity. Some effective mirroring scenes evoke a world of image-making and misidentification. This is a well-made though mostly undemanding piece, its aims neither too high nor too deep for its means.
Etta Ermini’s Game Spotting features two wayward girls, a self-consciously sexy woman, a conventional-looking businessman and an aimless accordionist. It’s a collage of workshop ideas – improvisation games, comedy pratfalls, a lot of talk, a lot of hurtling around. A stronger direction occasionally emerges: an anointing ritual that transforms these city-dwellers into tribal creatures, some offbeat irony as the performers talk about performing. Overall, though, it’s scrappily strung together and scrappily executed. This may be a piece of experimental physical theatre, but a few West End virtues wouldn’t go amiss.
Ladies and Gentleman, how bored are you? is an unlikely title for Jonathan Goddard and Gemma Nixon’s duet – a subtle, layered portrait of a relationship. But my answer was unequivocal: not a bit. In the first scene, the pair slip through and around each other’s limbs, their personal spaces meshing but not merging. In the second, they bed down, shuffling blearily off into their own introspective dreams. In the third, they are wilder, more driven, tumbling like animals, and in the final emotive section, they lean and sway, torsos as supple as if stirred by sighs. Goddard and Nixon bring a professional finesse to both piece and performance. In fifteen captivating minutes what you get is far more than what you see.