What’s Love Got to Do with It? at Rich MixCultureTheatre
Throughout 2014, Rich Mix’s arts programme Small Story/Big City will see emerging performers and companies tell their stories of city life. Predominantly newly commissioned pieces, they will attempt to tackle the poignant, hidden and frivolous details of modern living.
With Valentine’s Day imminent, performance art duo the Non Applicables – Sian Myers and Fenella Ryan – dedicate their piece to the complexities of modern love. Through an amalgamation of drama, dance and popular love songs What’s Love Got to Do with It? aims to dissect modern dating etiquette, the phenomenon of online romance and sexual codes.
The basis of the piece lies in the notion that our modern courtship rituals – club dancing, internet dating profiles and sexual foreplay – are inherently animalistic. It’s a clever idea and one that has been satirically debated throughout time – writers as far back as Shakespeare and Jonathan Swift have been quick to push humanity from their pedestal of rationality and remind us of our baser inclinations. What’s Love Got to Do with It? begins by likening the internet’s hoards of dating profiles to descriptions of prime livestock at a cattle auction. Dressed like butchers, Myer and Ryan scream through megaphones, selling off each romantic hopeful’s username to the highest bidder. We then move to a club setting where the dancing melds into an avian mating ritual, each dancer clucking and diving to attract their partner.
Despite some fairly original ideas, it was the execution that primarily let this piece down. Upon arrival, Rich Mix’s magnificent fourth floor studio was transformed into a chintzy romantic restaurant with heart shaped piñatas hanging from the ceiling and gaudy pink tissue and gold streamers for decoration. Yet even with advice from award-winning choreographer Gary Clarke, the piece lacked continuity, as each dance was followed by long, unnecessary costume changes leaving gaping pauses in the performance.
Rather than a dance showcase offering creative insights into modern dating psychology, What’s Love Got to Do with It? is predominantly a mixture of short skits that fail to hit the comical mark. With sketches that either lingered past the point of intrigue or disappointingly amounted to very little, one was left feeling confused and unfulfilled.
For further information about the Non Applicables visit here.