Review: Dreaming In Code

Last night I watched Dreaming In Code, by 2faceddance at the Patrick Centre in the Hippodrome. Tamsin Fitzgerald & Eddie Kay from Frantic Assembly, both award winning choreographers, presented a creative collision of both theatre and contemporary dance.

This is something I’d never usually go and see, so when I was asked to come along and review it, I found it refreshing to see something so different to my usual taste in theatre. The company 2faceddance were astoundingly talented, as they brought their raw talent and creativity to the stage to create two captivating and creative pieces of theatre. I found the dancing really interesting, how every movement had thought and emotion behind it and how they intertwined these movements and emotions to explore an idea. As it was performed by an all male company, their pieces centered around the idea of women and memories.

The first piece was titled Milk Night and the stage was set with three tents, surrounded by empty milk bottles. Whilst watching this piece although I found it incredibly enthralling, I also found it quite perplexing as I tried to gather some sort of story line from it. I thought it was about boys who had all broken up with their girlfriends and had gone on an all boys camping trip. This proved I really should have read the program before watching the performance as after reading it, it all made sense.

They were exploring what the world would be like with an absence of women. It suddenly all made sense to me as the piece included a lot of spoken word about missing someone or a woman not being in their life anymore and their movements reflected heartache, pain and an inability to live without women. Different styles of dance were used throughout the piece, from contemporary, to break dance and even disco. I particularly enjoyed the more physical theatre attributes to the piece as they threw themselves in the air and caught each other, perhaps representing an attempt to be there for each other and support each other when women aren’t there to do that for them. I found the piece effective and creative, despite not always knowing what was going on, my eyes were still constantly glued to the piece.

The second piece titled Lucid Grounds was a huge contrast to Milk Night as it was fast paced and highly energised. I enjoyed this piece a lot more, whilst it wasn’t as intriguing as Milk Night I liked the excitement in it. It was exploring the ideas of what would happen if we were able to directly experience each other’s memories or dreams. The director writes “we explored and discovered a space in which the lines of reality become blurred and emotions become heightened”. This came across very well, as the piece started with them all facing the back, looking onto metallic sheets that wavered to create tension.

Then each dancer took a leading role as the other dancers mirrored his movements and emotions through the use of strong, rapid contemporary dance. They used loud exciting music to create a dream-like atmosphere, clearly straying away from reality. I preferred this piece as it really conveyed the talent of the dancers, not only was their movement was impressive but their use of emotion behind each movement was clear throughout.

For a show that I would never usually see I found the way each idea was conveyed on stage very innovative and artistic. Although as a logical person, I realised when watching a style of theatre such as physical theatre or contemporary dance, you can’t be logical. There were parts when I was trying to make sense of it all and put together some sort of story line when that isn’t the intention. It’s a piece of theatre that you have to be open minded about and not think too deeply into it, because it is more an exploration of ideas than a set story line like in a play or musical.

I found both pieces thought provoking, after reading about them in the program numerous times I really liked the ideas that they had, especially in Milk Night because I feel they correctly identified how men would survive in a world without women. It wasn’t until writing this review that I really thought about what they were portraying on stage and I think it’s very clever and meaningful.

If you want to see Dreaming In Code, it is on until the 7th of March and tickets can be found here.

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