Rehearsal photos: Wild Honey, Hampstead Theatre
Review: The Nest, Young Vic

Review: Princess, Lost Theatre, Stockwell or when Stan watched a contemporary dance piece for the first time

Well this is new for me: A dance piece. And by that I mean I'm coming to this having seen a ballet once and that's it when it comes to dance as a form of story telling. There is a synopsis for Princess in the programme and I wonder if I'd read it beforehand whether it would have made a difference because I'm not sure I gleaned much of what is described there from what I was seeing on stage.

Stuart Saint is the writer/director/choreographer of the piece which, apparently, shatters the illusion of the happily-ever-afters, banishing the storybook fairytale and finding the feminism in Disney. Maybe it's my lack of familiarity and knowledge of dance but what I got from it was a toy rabbit carrying, dungaree wearing 'princess' who is seduced by a group of more scantily-clad dancers including a man wearing a rabbit mask. At some point she changes into a dress that is more Alice in Wonderland-style and eventually she rejects the man-rabbit.

The princess is blond and flicks her long hair out of her face a lot which made me want her to tie it up but perhaps that is missing the point. Her style of dance is more balletic than the other dancers except when she occasionally joined in their routines. The rest of the dancers generally wear less - cheer-leader/can-can style skirts for the girls and three-quarter length, track suit bottoms for the boys, or sometimes just hot pants. There are various wigs and masks, sometimes animals, sometimes what looked like golf balls and several costume changes. In fact the costumes, masks and make up were  impressive but what it all signified I'm struggling to determine.

There are some great dance sequences such as when the dancers are all tightly packed together and move sharply in time and I particularly liked one segment with a parachute-sized 'skirt'. Some of the dancers are more precise and crisper with their movements than others but overall it was impressively choreographed and performed or at least it seemed to my inexperienced eye. However, I can't say I took away from it much more than that, to me it was 65 minutes of dance routines. Maybe my lack of dance knowledge was a disadvantage.

Princess is on at the Lost Theatre until Saturday 19 November.

 

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