Review: New Art Club - Quiet Act of Destruction -Soho Theatre
Reviewed: 13 October
Over the last ten years or so that Tom Roden and Pete Shenton have been performing as New Art Club they’ve been variously described as the Gilbert & George, Reeves & Mortimer or Morcambe & Wise of contemporary dance. Although their work is born out of dance [Tom trained at Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Pete at De Montfort University], it doesn’t stop there. To a combination of tight choreography and clever writing, add comedy, spoken word, props, music and human interest and if you can stop laughing for long enough, you’ll hear the soul of the work, its often disguised meaning, thought provoking morals and titbits of exquisitely observed life.
Quiet Act of Destruction, which the duo have been touring since Summer 2011, tells the tale of two rival villages connected by an enchanted wood, its wizard (or badger as Pete tells it), and the growing conflict at the possible renaming of the local train station.
Whether you want to or not, you’re going to get involved. You’ll be charmed by New Art Club and their stellar ways of weaving stories, tricking your emotions from laughter to tear filled eyes and anything in between. Sit on the front row and you’re in for lots of participation, in fact where ever you sit, you’ll find yourself woven into the story becoming angry villagers, distressed tourists, growling animals and more. You’ll run up on stage to steal pancakes, attempt to knock a hat from the wizard’s head, eat dry cornflakes quicker than hens can peck and have a go at winning tug of war.
There might come a time when you think, where’s the dance then? At which point a stunning duet based on beat box, physical reactions to everyday situations and body language is teased out. It’s not just comedic timing the boys have off pat, it’s the choreographic variety as well.
Quiet Act of Destruction uses an eclectic soundtrack including Penguin Café Orchestra, Kraftwerk, Roots Manuva, The White Stripes, live beat boxing and air guitar. This is intelligent entertainment, wrapped up in a great big comedy pancake, choreographed to darn near perfection.
Gail Schock is an Independent Development Manager and Producer, specialising in dance and culture.
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