DANCE & PHYSICAL
Crying Out Loud presents La Poeme
4 stars ****
Summerhall (Venue 26)
ITS A RARE thing, in the world of dance and physical theatre, to encounter a performer who actually seems to extend the range of the human body’s possibilities, and therefore the range of ideas and emotions it can express. Jeanne Mordoj of Company Bal, though, is an artist with that quality, a dancer, ventriloquist, juggler and contortionist whose body is capable of strange and eloquent extremes of movement; and her new 35-minute show La Poeme is reflection on the idea of the female, brief but unforgettably vivid.
So Mordoj begins in the dress of a conventional woman of the mid-20th century, perhaps setting off for a new job, in a neat skirt, jacket and hat, with a small suitcase. There’s a problem with eggs, though, popping out of her mouth, sliding in again, appearing from her clothes, rolling round the back of her neck; and in no time at all the jacket and hat have been discarded, and a stripped-down Mordoj is dealing not only with eggs but with naked yolks, sliding sensuously across her shoulders and down her arms. She becomes bird-like, strutting and crowing; and finally a wilder beast emerges, roaring and snarling around the stage on all fours, primitive and frightening.
By the end, some kind of reflective order has been restored; but in a short half hour, Mordoj succeeds in offering up a brief history of womanhood that is not only a compelling piece of physical theatre, but also an object lesson in the use of colour, light and sound to enrich a theatrical experience, and to conjure up the world of nature with which human beings, whether they like it or not, are inextricably entwined.