DANCE & PHYSICAL
3 stars ***
Summerhall (Venue 26)
On a bare stage, backed by a large screen, a father and son stand side by side, listening to the recorded sound of their own voices. They are the 33-year old dancer and choreographer Giulio D’Anna, and his father Stefano, an actor and performer who is 64, and has Parkinson’s disease.
What follows is a rich and memorable exploration of a changing father-son relationship, as the two tell their life-stories, evoke the limitations of Parkinsonism by shuffling around with their trousers round their ankles, perform a breathtaking pas-de-deux about the love between father and son – for how often do we see two grown men in a full, loving, cradling embrace, with no sexual content? – and then begin to explore the aggression between them, the way Giulio, as a solo dancer, understands his father’s illness, and some beautiful final images of father and son together, from the days when Giulio was a child or a newborn baby, and Stefano was a glorious young man in his prime.
In the end, the quality of the movement is too uneven to give this show the weight its subject deserves. But Stefano is a performer of terrific beauty and presence, despite his slight physical fragility; and his interaction with his son touches the heart, as well as providing substantial food for thought about one of the most common afflictions of old age, and our attitudes to it.