Review: Tim Etchells & Fumiyo Ikeda in in pieces at Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler's Wells

Performance: 25 & 26 June 2010
Reviewed by Gail Brown - Saturday 26 June 2010

Tim Etchells and Fumiyo Ikeda 'in pieces' Lilian Baylis Studio, 25-26 June 2010. Photo: Herman Sorgeloos

Reviewed: 26 June 2010

As the audience settles itself alongside a set that consists of a single chair and a large wooden wall, we are welcomed into the world of _*in pieces,* _*Tim Etchell* of Forced Entertainment’s new work – this time in collaboration with Rosas dancer Fumiyo Ikeda. They present a composed solo, one that invites the audience to emotionally participate and illustrates why Etchell has had such a positive impact on experimental theatre over the last 20 years.

As the title suggests there are pieces of choreography, movement, text and conversation. The emotion, feelings and experiences shared between Etchell, Ikeda and their creative journey are stitched into the seams of the work. Throughout Ikeda welcomes the audience in glimpsing elements of her character; sassiness, laughter, grief and layers of experience. It is refreshing to watch Ikeda with over 30 years of dance in her body. The piece is childlike at times and incredibly charming. Such is the intimacy of the space that we hear Ikeda’s breath as she begins to transport her lithe intense body across and around the floor. The movement vocabulary is recognisable and this audience seems at home with the use of the dancer and the work.

The choreography is juxtaposed with listed text, both elements always begin at one, at times continuing to over 100. Ikeda invites us to reminisce with her, remembering both something forgotten and something not yet known. To laugh, to cry and feel. There are some particularly emotionally raw sections enabling Ikeda to perform the same phrase in varying states of distress. It is hard to decide which is more disturbing, hysterical laughter or crying. The audience enjoys the sensitivity of the number of ways that both yes and goodbye can be said, with over 60 different ways being shown. It is a relief and delight that Etchell does not end with Ikeda saying goodbye.

It is during the text based scenes that the collaborative process between Etchell and Ikeda is palpable. It’s almost as if Etchell is in the room, perhaps sitting on the chair and this provides a comfort to the performance, the lines of performer and audience are blurred and it is difficult to not respond to Ikeda’s questions and to become part of her conversation.

*in pieces* uses both recorded music and live piano. Due to the nature of the work, it feels as if Ikeda has a stronger relationship with live music as part of the ensemble. The recorded music seems to inspire distance between performer and sound. The lighting is well considered, intimate and at times surprising.

In the blink of an eye the hour is over and it is time to leave. *in*_ pieces _is bravely sensitive and beautiful work, should you go and see it? In 60 different ways, yes.

At Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler’s Wells, 26 June only

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