Review: Colin, Simon and I - Because We Care

Performance: 8 & 9 June 2012
Reviewed by Jeffrey Gordon Baker - Monday 11 June 2012

Colin, Simon & I - 'Because We Care'
Photo: Eulanda Shead

Performance reviewed: 8 June

Dance artists Simon Ellis and Colin Poole obviously have a very rich relationship. So intense is their connection that they have formed a collaboration, the entire purpose of which seems to be exploring this union. The ‘I’ in the title of their company (Colin, Simon & I) could – on a highly intellectual level – refer to that self-reflexive part of each man that is independently observing themselves as they go about their interpersonal-ly probing exercises, or it could be referring to the funny dolly that they have curled up foetus-like in their suitcase. They pull out this little guy early on and pass it back and forth, wiggling its feet and holding it between their teeth, as though testing out the parts of themselves that they have in common, embodied by this miniature blank faced stand-in.

Dressed all in white: shorts, flip-flops, crisp button up short sleeve shirts, against a starkly white, brightly lit playing space; they look like they’re on their way to some sort of clinical barbeque. The experiments they enacted upon us were likewise presented casually and with a sterile, episodic pacing that made their nonchalance come off as boredom and their apparently somewhat tumultuous relationship appear as an in-joke that the audience were never really made privy to. ‘Because we care’ they intone flatly near the beginning. They say this in direct address to us, but if they cared about the audience they would have done well to hire a director who could provide an outside eye, tightening up the pacing and transitions of what could otherwise have been sharp and visceral evocations of masculine tension and camaraderie.

Different sides of an argument are presented through fiercely gritted teeth. Scuffles and skirmishes involving chest bumps and wrestling moves smacked simultaneously of affection and violence. At one point they took a break and sat down to glasses of Saki and a bowl of edamame beans; the sure sign of metrosexual friendship. Later it’s as if they reference the Nine Inch Nails song March of the Pigs when they command each other to bite, suck and chew the other’s flesh, making us wonder if this was about how furious they are capable of making one another, or some psychodramatic therapy they needed to finally realise that they want to sleep together.

The biting, sucking and chewing was the best part; sexy, violent, physical and and intense. It would have made a fine climax if there had been any sort of build up, arc or denouement. As it was, the piece felt like fragments from rehearsal, presented with no particular structural scaffolding to hold it all together.

Jeffrey Gordon Baker took part in this year’s Resolution! Review – The Place’s online magazine which includes reviews of every Resolution! show, by professional dance critics and aspiring writers. An ex-New Yorker, he’s in London studying for a PhD in Aesthetic Theory at Birkbeck College, University of London.

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