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REVIEW | MK Ultra | Rosie Kay Dance Company

“This is fake theatre” are the words that pop up on the triangular screen to open choreographer Rosie Kay’s new dance production MK Ultra. Never has there been a time more relevant for Rosie to explore the idea of conspiracy theories and ‘fake news’. 

In a previous interview, Rosie told me: “‘Fake News’ and ‘Alternative Facts’ have become the news, and the fragile balance of trust between truth, the news, our leaders and the media has been fractured.” This contemporary piece of dance uses modern and experimental dance to portray the powerful effects of the Illuminati.

The Illuminati is the name of an elite organisation that are thought to be made up of celebrities, world leaders and people in power, who are all brainwashing the people on our planet. There has been much talk about this group using signs and symbols such as the iconic Illuminati Triangle and projecting it through the media.



Rosie uses a series of video interviews with young people, explaining their thoughts and feelings about the Illuminati as the backdrop to the performance. These young people are clearly tuned into the ideas of the Illuminati, and their effect on people’s lives. Their ability to spread messages change people’s minds and thoughts subconsciously is highly powerful.

With the combination of striking lighting, bright colours and expressive costumes. The dance company use their high-energy to move freely, encapsulating the eccentric characters. Through exaggerated movement, the dancers pulsate to the strong rhythms of the techno music. Each twerk, thrust and shake create a dynamic performance that is visually absorbing.

The movement feels robotic, emulating the brainwashed people that are thought to have been affected by the Illuminati. With futuristic moves that shift from hyperactive to more mellow, this balance leaves the audience with the ability to think about the ideas that are being presented.

There are a mixture of well known music videos and animations projected onto the Illuminati-shaped triangle screen which create a cacophony of visuals and images to play with your mind. This combination of movement, music and video create a colourful explosion that echo the familiar signs and symbols of the Illuminati, which lingers on your mind hours after leaving the performance.

Projecting these dark ideas through bright and vibrant dance is a genius way to explore these highly thought-provoking ideas.

On at the Birmingham Rep until the 18th of March before embarking on a UK Tour.

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