This ruthlessly gripping court room cliff-hanger is an unbearably moving tour-de-force. Vardimon’s newest touring dance drama incorporates a unique quirky contemporary movement style, combined with a daring display of physical theatre and an intuitively original abstract use of theatrical technology. The choreographer’s key interest with her work is to tap into the human psyche and create a sincere emotional connection with the audience; she is undoubtedly stunningly successful at this, as the tension of that indescribable bond is almost tangible throughout.This piece, along with many of her others, focuses on a strong narrative line that begins with a physical space, which in this case is the legal courtroom. In keeping with an escalating trend towards the extensive use of multi-media in dance performance, Vardimon presents not only innovative movement material but an entire paradigm of human experience. Perhaps the most striking physical architecture of the stage environment is a three- sectional revolving set featuring a projector showing the text of a courtroom stenographer, a wall of chairs which is climbed by the dancers and a slatted wall manipulated by the characters to create different plays of light.

Each dancer is a powerhouse of heart-wrenchingly sincere emotion, personality and individual sense of morality, showing absolute commitment every second of the performance. Every aspect of characterisation is meticulously detailed and convincingly executed to a chilling degree from facial expression to speech to movement mannerisms. All of the roles are highly demanding not only physically but also in the integration of embodying a thespian role. Quick witted realism is seamlessly delivered in the script with such cutting conviction vocalising that sense of underlying dark humour and an intensely profound personal understanding of the universal human experience that is the true essence of Vardimon’s vision. This is not to mention the intense relentless energy and awe- inspiring athleticism physically displayed by the dancers throughout as they tackle challenging set manipulation, air tight unison and a mind-blowing attention to every movement in physical rewinds.

The story focuses on the death of a young group therapy leader Seth when he was alone in his best friend’s apartment with the wife of said best friend. The scene of this demise is repeated from several perspectives displaying the differing interpretations of possible causality; Vardimon is fearless in presenting the more taboo emotional issues in a raw fashion such as rape, murder, sacrifice and adultery.

Don’t miss this whirlwind journey as a member of Vardimon’s deciding jury audience. Poignant, disturbing, and a truly one of a kind spectacle, this is not for the faint-hearted…
Review written by Bev Wass.

(Performance discussed was viewed on Thursday 8th October 2009 at the Theatre Royal Winchester)