Compagnie XY: It’s Not Yet Midnight at the Roundhouse
Defined as a circus, but more like modern ballet with acrobats, the French Compagnie XY’s It’s Not Yet Midnight could be called performance art. Premiering in the UK at the Roundhouse, the act combines dance, acrobatics, wrestling, and theatrical displays. Visually, the piece might be a painting or sculpture in motion. It is indefinable, an innovative, eclectic new invention – which in essence may be what art is about.
Opening with groups of people wrestling with one another – a kind of graceful, but vigorous dance-fight – to a pounding rock beat the scene becomes theatrical, reminding of a street tussle in West Side Story. Following this are many combinations of modern ballet and acrobatics, with amazing stunts featuring two or three players on each other’s shoulders forming human totem poles, then several of these structures interacting in dance or huddling together, collapsing like a tower of dominoes into a heap, then miraculously reversing their movement upward and becoming totem poles again.
The entire performance is like a hominid kaleidoscope, graceful, athletic, artistic – and sometimes very witty and humorous, with enacting of quirky movements and sounds, clowning around, yet with all elements elegantly flowing with aesthetic precision within this kinetic theatrical sculpture. Using props like a seesaw and large square boards, the troupe seems equipped with hidden springs in their feet as they shoot up and over and around like personified fireworks, twirling in mid air, or forming a kind of layer cake with people upon boards upon boards.
A collaboration by Loïc Touzé, Emmanuel Dariès, Valentin Mussou and David Gubitsch – and for acrobatics Nordine Allal – It’s Not Yet Midnight is significantly cutting edge, whether one calls it a circus, modern dance or performance art. In terms of its composition it is creatively ingenious – the grace and coordination of the artists are remarkable. Like a painting or sculpture, the work can be appreciated from different perspectives: as dance it is beautiful, poetic; as a circus avant garde and thrilling; as theatre witty, enjoyable entertainment; as art, a fascinating, visually well-constructed piece. The show is certainly an impressive crowd-pleaser and recommended viewing.
Photos: David Levene
Compagnie XY: It’s Not Yet Midnight is at the Roundhouse from 10th until 23rd April 2017, for further information or to book visit here.
Watch the trailer for It’s Not Yet Midnight here: