In Greek myth, Hector and Andromache are the archetypal heroic husband and devoted wife. Greek company Rootlessroot sees them rather differently in Sudden Showers of Silence. Josef Frucek, with “warrior” blazoned across his shirt, crouches and leaps like a belligerent chimpanzee; Linda Kapatanea (“widow”) kneads a baby out of dough. Mostly, though, they fight each other furiously – first with wooden rods, then with bare hands – in a high-tension combination of rigorous martial arts and no-holds-barred physical theatre. Overlong and occasionally bewildering (what’s with the silver platform boots?) it’s still a gripping, bruising experience.
In the film Memento, the plot runs in forward sections, but overall it’s told backwards, so only at the end do you understand the beginning. Steve Johnstone’s aptly named Rewind does something formally similar, but in abstract contemporary dance and without the story or the stars. Two women and one man run along in parallel worlds, limbs and torsos twisting in fluid, elastic phrases. Gradually their separate motifs – a hanging arm, a long lunge forward – begin to overlap and merge. It’s a well-crafted if rather academic study in composition, though hindered by the bland music. The ending reassembles the women’s opening solo material as a slippery duet – and suddenly, the composition seems to make sense retrospectively. Which makes you want to rewind and see it again, immediately.
That would be impossible with Charlotte Eatock and Rachael Mossom’s Secret Event, which has an unrepeatable ending. The piece is a determinedly zany response to various bits of music – a music-box solo to a music-box song, robotic group formations to techno. The wackiness can get as wearing as the kooky costumes, though one man (Guy Hoare, as wild and hairy as Rasputin), does a brilliant heave-and-lurch number to thrash metal music. Then comes the ending. A woman leans over Hoare and slowly, inexorably, hacks out chunks from his huge thicket of beard and mane of hair. I’m pretty certain it’s his real hair, so must have taken months to grow. The audience goes wild – gasping, screaming and tearing out their hair.