REVIEW: L*dyL*ke, Colchester Arts Centre, Colchester Fringe ✭✭✭✭

Guest reviewer Noah Pantano reviews L*dyL*ke at Colchester Arts Centre as part of the Colchester Fringe.

Colchester Fringe

Colchester Arts Centre, Colchester Fringe
4 Stars
Colchester Fringe Website

Dramatic. Fluid. Committed. I doubt it was possible to leave the theatre tonight thinking the dancers with TOBYmoves were anything less than professionals of their craft. The choreography, created by Katy Higgins in collaboration with the three other dancers (Hayley Russell, Jonathon Prestney, and Lindsey Woods), was near perfectly performed. The dancing fell somewhere between Berlin night-clubbing, avant garde fashion show, and Punchdrunk-esque modern dance sequences. The opening number, which gradually built upon repetitive movement in increasing intensity, felt like something straight out of a Robert Wilson opera. Praise aside, L*dyl*ke does need stronger dramaturgical support so it can explore its themes further. I felt as though the show didn’t go far enough in exploring gender identity and the confines of heteronormative society. With glimpses of brilliance, particularly the caustic solo dance performed by Katy Higgins and the terrifyingly subversive Tom Jone’s “She’s A Lady” number, there is no doubt the substance is there. L*dyl*ke’s choreography has a bite, but you cannot help but feel they are holding back that final punch. Call it personal preference but the show’s optimism about gender exploration felt somewhat hollow without a real introspective look into the ways gender binaries traumatize the body. If anything, this criticism simply shows how badly we wanted more than the short run time could allow. That said, the dancers should be proud of themselves for such a great performance and I would happily come see a longer, more focused rendition of this work. I am excited to see this piece continued to be developed and for anything TOBYmoves graces us with next.

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