Motionhouse: Nobody review – keep your eyes glued to this incredible ensemble

Peacock theatre, London
Forget about the plot and lose yourself in this dance-circus show whose dizzying performers cast gravity aside

She falls almost in slow motion, sideways, her body rigid. There’s a feeling like a sucker-punch as they catch her, moments before she hits the ground.

Motionhouse’s dance-circus show combines spectacular strength and elegance. Created and directed by Kevin Finnan for a cast of seven, all on top form, Nobody is an incredible ensemble piece. There is no sense that the men carry the women; everyone here is weightless, everyone can lift a house.

The performers clamber, swing and chuck each other round a metallic cube, sometimes cloaked in fabric and projected upon, in front of an enormous screen. The illusion-like projections are bafflingly smart, giving us vertigo rushes as they zoom from the top of a skyscraper to a street corner, and twisting at angles you’d think impossible for the technology to keep up with. But the aesthetics have a shallowness to them, the images evoking generic desktop backgrounds.

Abstract brilliance … Motionhouse’s Nobody, with set design by Simon Dormon.
Abstract brilliance … Motionhouse’s Nobody, with set design by Simon Dormon. Photograph: Dan Tucker

The story follows a group of friends who are watched over by a murder of crows in glittering harnesses, the birds representing an inner part of themselves that they must escape. The plot is the least coherent element of the show, but there’s too much excitement elsewhere to worry about that. There is a dizzying swiftness in the constant flurry of the clever choreography’s montage-like movements, in the easy way they lift each other with one hand and then shrug them off as if they don’t weigh a thing.

The second act largely does without the projections and is less plot driven – and better for it. It immerses itself in the endlessly impressive ways the dancers glide off and climb on each other’s bodies: each thigh, shoulder, hand, another rung of their climbing frame. It’s impossible to look away.


Kate Wyver

The GuardianTramp

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