Review: Bonnie Oddie and Company at Jacksons Lane

Performance: 27 April 2011
Reviewed by Sam Gauntlett - Wednesday 4 May 2011

Bonnie Oddie & Company 'Boxed-I’m-Perfect'

It seems that Bonnie Oddie is attempting to juggle a few balls right now and her most recent show is a reflection of that. Broken into three parts, including a youth dance troupe piece called Where’s Jamie? that Oddie has directed, the evening as a whole takes on a kind of cabaret feel. The audience too is not a typical dance crowd, but seems to be made up of friends and family, which brings a lively interplay between auditorium and stage.

In *At The Moment, Oddie plays a troubled artist, trying to direct her dancer (*Kate Zamira Mummery) whilst in the midst of a crisis of conviction. Mummery tentatively advances forward along a diagonal shaft of light, leading with pelvis, then head, then feet. She doesn’t get far before she is interrupted by Oddie, who, shouting for the performance to stop, enters the stage. She talks about her anxieties, which hinge on the nature of “now”, being stuck in the past and concerned about the future. Oddie is possessed of natural comic timing and when she dances with Mummery, there are moments of clarity in the choreography that bring a depth of emotion to the piece. As a whole though, At The Moment feels a little pantomime, with the interaction between Oddie and Mummery a little over-baked.

In *Boxed-I’m-Perfect, Oddie obsesses over an untidy pile of cardboard boxes. Clothed in pyjamas and a face fixed in concentrated unease, our protagonist works out frustrated energy by lifting, shuffling and rearranging. Piling them on top of one another in a tower seems to bring some satisfaction, then a large box, complete with red ribbon, is opened to reveal a man in lycra. Seduced by his six-pack, Oddie is seized with a burst of energy and she works out with her own Mr Motivator in a brilliant tribute to *Flashdance. Other distractions come in the form of cake, and an episode with a feather duster, but ultimately, it is Oddie’s charisma that carries the narrative. Boxed is the perfect showcase for her very own brand of imperfect everywoman comedy dance theatre and her ability to connect ensures we laugh from beginning to end.

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