Review: Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company in Faultline & Exit No Exit at Queen Elizabeth Hall

Performance: 6 & 7 March 2007
Reviewed by Lindsey Clarke - Friday 16 March 2007

6 March

New work Faultline wears its influences on its sleeve and meshes a whole host of high quality artists from the dance-maker and dancers themselves, to the film-maker, lighting designer, composer and, in this instance, extraordinary live soprano. Why then, does the work not have impact deeper than merely referencing the increasingly common hybridity of dance forms (Bharata Natyam, contemporary dance, martial arts, street dance) and suggest the urban tensions of modern multicultural living? Opening with grittily shot Asian kids hanging around “yooting” on the streets the influence of Gautam Malkhani’s novel Londonstani is clearly stated yet the choreography and almost annoyingly haunting score fail to deliver a sense of the real anxieties they were meant to portray. In part, it was well stylised and several individual performances were arresting – including that of the soprano, Patricia Rosario but it was an ultimately frustrating performance that felt empty at heart. Faultline had all the best ingredients yet the finished product was strangely unimpressive.

Exit No Exit’s revival, in comparison, was more instantly comprehensible and immediately entertaining with Michael Nyman’s filmic score soothing over Faultline’s lingering ragged edges. With its bass clarinet player perched atop a white tower in one corner of the stage the dancers play expertly with the space, their entrances and exits and toy with the central figure, danced by an ice cool Mavin Khoo, raising the question of who is really in control. This is a good, smart, pacy piece but couldn’t eclipse the disappointment of Faultline.

What’s On