Review: New Art Club in The Visible Men at The Place

Performance: 27 & 29 Oct 07
Reviewed by Libby Costello - Sunday 28 October 2007

27 Oct 07

New Art Club have become a victim of their own publicity; if you bill yourself as the Morecambe and Wise of dance, then humour should be the centre of your work. Although the hardcore fans sought out the laughs, many of the audience members were left scanning the Place for an escape route.

The Visible Men started in traditional New Art Club fashion with a ‘quirky’ movement section, although the lack of precision was either due to under rehearsal or a well choreographed micky take which was not pushed to its full potential.

The usual two microphones on stands were placed at the front of the stage, allowing a stand up comedian still vocal interlude to happen. However, much of the humor of the speeches was based on Northern clichés, which sometimes even a Northerner has to admit cannot stand up further south than Manchester.

The main structure of this work was based around cinematic ability to transcend time and space. The intention to ‘create a world where the familiar laws of physics are unreliable’ was to merely ask the audience to open and close their eyes. After the first few instructions to close, and then open our eyes, giving the performers chance to run around, changing positions or altering scenery, you were left hoping that the gag would move on. Seventy minutes later it hadn’t.

There were moments where these previously comic dance geniuses hit the nail on the head. The image of a man continuously walking towards an exit did accomplish the theme of perspective, but these moments were too few and far between.

The beauty of this duo has previously been to shake the world of dance and ridicule it for its pretentiousness. Although a company must grow and evolve The Visible Men did not feel like a step in the right direction.

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