It’s all about the costumes tonight. An amorphous mound of clothing lies on the floor in Maud Brambach’s Sous Influence, that throbs and heaves as it births four women in underwear. Their relationship with the clothes turns out to be… complicated. The garments are chic, feminine numbers: slips, tops, and one particular crimson cocktail dress that seduces and possesses each in turn, inducing a haunted sensuality in one, a scrabbling repulsion in another. Though it sometimes diffuses its own force and focus, Sous Influence picks away at the seam between women’s experience and their appearance, intimating the uneasy co-dependencies between their bodies and their clothes. Who’s wearing who?
In her adagio solo Be My Home, Konstantina Skalionta wears misshapen cushions that bulge about her body like tuberiferous outgrowths. She cradles them protectively, or gracefully extends her arms as if the cushions were a bud and she the flower. Sometimes she caresses them, tracing their outlines out into the air around her. But they also constrain her, penning her like a caged songbird, hobbling her feet or weighing her down as she tries to walk. A hushed, introspective piece – you sense more going on inside Skalionta’s head than on the stage – Be My Home nevertheless builds a poetic and intriguing ambivalence.
After so much atmospheric evocation, Ben Logan’s Smirk for Friction Dance Theatre delivers a welcome gut-punch. The five dancers have their heads swathed in bandages, their bodies shrink- wrapped in tattered cellophane. They could be the living dead – not the shuffling corpses of classic zombie movies but the dynamic figures of 28 Days Later: they strike comic-strip action poses, all poised crouches and thrusting limbs. Loganhas a fine time marshalling them into marauding lines, jump-cutting and replaying their flails and gouges. Then he has them slow and stop and clump together, peeling and picking at their plastic coating as if wondering – for just a bit too long, actually – who they really are.