Feature: Recommended by... Richard Wilson

Wednesday 31 March 2010

richard wilson Richard Wilson is an actor and theatre director probably best known for his role as Victor Meldrew in the comedy series One Foot in the Grave. He regularly appears on television and is currently filming BBC drama series Merlin.

He’s often found at dance venues around London and Lyndsey Winship asked him what he’ll be seeing in the next few weeks..

Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina BauschKONTAKTHOF With Ladies and Gentlemen over ?65`, Barbican Theatre, 1 - 4 April 2010

I went to see Pina Bausch the first time she arrived in the country in 1982. It was Alan Rickman who said there was an interesting dance company he’d heard about. I was sort of interested in contemporary dance but didn’t see a lot of it so I went to see Pina for the first time and I just responded immediately. I knew I was in the hands of someone very special, who I empathised with. I realised, for example, that I could laugh at dance. It was very funny. Just her whole methodology I thought was utterly brilliant and from then on I was hooked. On Pina especially, but also on contemporary dance.

I remember being invited to have dinner with Pina, which was such a thrill – but of course the downside was that she smoked throughout the meal! I just loved her stillness. She was not grandiose. The discipline of her company was remarkable, the detail and the commitment of everyone involved. To get that she must have been a very strong-willed woman but she never gave that impression. She was always keen to chat.

In her work she would take a long time to improvise and experiment with her chosen subject. She depended a lot on what the dancers brought to it, but you could also see there was a very, very strong hand behind her shows. I’m delighted that the company are carrying on since her death and I hope she’s sown enough seeds to let them keep up her work.

Mark Morris Dance Group 'L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato' 14-17 April, London Coliseum What I love about dance is that the possibilities are endless with just an empty stage and a couple of people. It’s so liberating. As a theatre director what interests me is where you put people on a stage. The spacial awareness that characters have is very important and in dance you can do so much more with that. The physicality of it is so beautiful.

Aside from Pina I’ve enjoyed the Flemish company Les Ballets C de la B. The one with the dogs, Alain Platel’s Wolf, where they had a whole chamber orchestra on stage – that worked remarkably well. I’ve seen Mark Morris’s company and they’re very good. They’re going to be at the Coliseum soon so I’ll probably try to see that. I enjoy his work and music is a draw for me.

Pictures from an Exhibition I saw Pictures from an Exhibition at the Young Vic and that’s now coming to Sadler’s Wells. I thought that was especially interesting because it was a first attempt by that group of people working together [director Daniel Kramer, choreographer Frauke Requardt and writer James Fenton] and it was very encouraging. Some of it worked very well indeed. I think it’s very healthy to mix spoken word and movement. I’m all for it. A few years ago I did some workshops at the Actors Centre and dipped my toe in experimenting with movement. But as for me dancing, I’m afraid the legs are not what they should be!

Pina Bausch, Kontakthof, Barbican 1-4 April
Mark Morris Dance Group, London Coliseum, 14-17 April
Pictures from an Exhibition, Sadler’s Wells, 23-24 April
Les Ballets C de la B, Lilian Baylis Studio, 5-7 May

What’s On