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Russell Maliphant: The Thread, London, March 2019


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I’m still in the process of traveling so I have to make this another quick one.

 

A lot of performances work partially extremely well. The opening fifteen minutes did this for me. The work is actually an hour and a half, nonstop. The opening is hypnotic. This is especially effective on someone who has just completed an overnight transatlantic flight.

 

The setting is dreamlike. The stage is dark and very atmospherically lit. The dancers essentially move in rows and circles. It’s subtly compelling. I particularly notice the patterning of the women’s feet below their long dresses as things speed up.

 

Then it builds and it depends on what ‘your cup of tea’ is as to whether you enjoy it as much. I’ll say right now that I think the entirety is very well crafted and effective.

 

It becomes very masculine even with the cast being equally divided and highlighted by both the men and the women. I being a ballet fan, because I love dreamlike enchantment and the prominence of the women, am less inclined to go in this direction.

 

The men are brilliantly bravura. The women tend to move more to the background or compete with the men and very admirably. The women never lose their feminine aura but this work is a man’s world.

 

Again it’s all a matter of personal preference.

 

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I saw it on Saturday, not particularly knowing what to expect.  I enjoyed it very much as an engaging and strangely hypnotic spectacle, even if at moments it veered somewhat towards 'soirée folklorique'.  I didn't quite fathom the coherence between the 'line bits' and the 'individual bits' or an overall sense of narrative, but then I'm too mean to buy a programme so doubtless all was revealed therein. I felt this was something to sit back and get absorbed into, rather than analyse.  Vangelis' music was powerful and atmospheric, and mostly loud enough to drown out the constant audience chatter at the back of the second circle.... 

 

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7 hours ago, Quintus said:

I saw it on Saturday, not particularly knowing what to expect.  I enjoyed it very much as an engaging and strangely hypnotic spectacle, even if at moments it veered somewhat towards 'soirée folklorique'.  I didn't quite fathom the coherence between the 'line bits' and the 'individual bits' or an overall sense of narrative, but then I'm too mean to buy a programme so doubtless all was revealed therein. I felt this was something to sit back and get absorbed into, rather than analyse.  Vangelis' music was powerful and atmospheric, and mostly loud enough to drown out the constant audience chatter at the back of the second circle.... 

 

Thanks for your thoughts, Quintus. All was attentively quiet and appreciative where I was sitting.

 

I'd like to add to what you've said that there is a definite 'forklorique' element, apparently Greek, but Maliphant's fine sense of movement is very evident. Also, the often highly athletic men (and women) are not necessarily 'macho,' in fact at times quite artistically sensitive, but again this work is a man's world. 

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  • John Mallinson changed the title to Russell Maliphant: The Thread, London, March 2019

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