Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Dance Review: The Office Party

The National Dance Company’s new work, The Office Party, opens on Monday, but The Imaginary Review was granted a sneaky peek at the final rehearsals in their studios on Walmart Lane. The work will amaze fans of both dance and offices, and it will surely clear the slate after last year’s dreadful dance adaptation of Stephen King’s ‘It’.

The performance revolves around a normal day at the office, and all the dancing that takes place thereat. The six distinct movements are each set in a different area of a generic office, with accurate stage props to guide the viewer’s understanding.

The best of these movements is set in the office kitchen, here occupying centre stage but utilizing a tiny, confined space. The dancers awkwardly skip around each other, vying with their ‘colleagues’ for the last few drops from the coffee machine, while lead ballerina Isabella DuPont pirouettes precariously as she waits for her lunch to defrost in the microwave. All in all, this is a daring, exciting piece, rich with beauty but at the same time claustrophobic and pathetic.

The boardroom features some highly interpretive dance from the troupe, and involves what looks like a game of musical chairs, lasting over ten minutes. According to NDC creative director Patricia P’Thingthing, this is meant to symbolize the movement of staff through different positions within the company.

The final act of the performance is going to be the most controversial of all. In it, the entire office workforce is made redundant by the boss, leading to chaos among the dancers. As the final curtain descends and the lights fade, many of the staff are writhing painfully on the floor while the manager character – played by Graham Pshaw-Belmont – simulates uncomfortable sex with random staff members. It’s a powerful and disturbing end to a magical night’s entertainment.

The Office Party will run until November. Tickets cost £25 for the back row, £22 for all other rows. No Pikies.

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