Flirt with Reality at Peacock Theatre
A project created by choreographer David Middendorp, Another Kind of Blue’s new show brings dance and technology together to explore a new set of possibilities. After impressing the judges on Britain’s Got Talent in 2016, the group continues to experiment around the meeting point between movement and the digital world, and how the one can be complemented and enhanced by the other. Flirt With Reality is a selection of digitally enriched choreographies performed by eight dancers and a percussionist.
The opening piece sees a dancer “duet” with a set of drones that hover above and around him as he moves, creating different shapes and formations. Then there is Flyland in a Room, the dance of a couple coming together and then falling apart. It features projected images of a virtual reality that the dancers move in synch with until they seem to float and fly. For most of the show, perfomers are mirroring projected, pre-recorded images of themselves in the background, as moving graphics create dream-like settings. There are moments when this works very well and the effort of the dancers and technicians results in charming passages. In the final piece, Game Engine, the troupe assemble cubes with fast-moving travelling sequences to emulate the creation of a computer.
The soundtrack is a strong selection of emotionally stirring songs and it features Radiohead heavily. In a way, this feels like cheating, as the songs themselves do most of the work in creating a magical atmosphere. Sadly, they also set the bar too high and the dancers, who don’t reach the emotional depths of the music in question, can add nothing to its majesty. One highlight is the contribution of tabla player Niti Ranjan Biswas, whose interventions elevate the scope of the show and introduce a stronger connection between sound, dancers and the audience, as only live music can do.
A series of clips in reality-show style, aimed to introduce the dancers, break the spell of live interaction and hinder the flow. The fact that performers bow at the end of each piece also seems to suggest that the production is influenced by its television background, which takes away from its potential on stage. While there are valid ideas at the base of this project, and at times they are well presented, the piece in its entirety doesn’t quite gel together and seems to stick in the domain of experimentation rather than reach its full expression.
Photo: David Middendorp
Flirt with Reality is at Peacock Theatre from 9th July until 14th July 2019. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.
Watch the trailer for Flirt with Reality here: