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The Lessening of Difference review at The Place London

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In this haunting theatrical meditation on the subject of intimacy, Ben Wright has produced something incredibly special, if not wholly flawless. Working in collaboration with writer, David Charles Manners, Wright offers us a fractured, non-narrative piece that allows the psychological impact of love and loss to physically and vocally breathe.

In front of mercurial digital backdrop – that sifts through moving images of starscapes and snowy skies – the dancers present with monologues, mime, sporadic (though never gratuitous) nudity, and snatches of stunning contemporary dance.

Some of the monologues would be better served by physical interpretation, and at times Manners’ exquisite writing is cheapened by clumsy emotional delivery. “I Don’t Believe You’re Gone” – a monologue mourning the loss of a lover, suffers particularly, although here it is the overreaching by Manners for universal empathy rather than idiosyncratic detail, that lessens its poignancy.

The performers are individually compelling.

Nuno Silva, in particular, is a force of nature. He can still an audience with the quiet of his hands before tickling them into hysterics with one flounce of his buttocks. The surprise of his shimmering falsetto (he sings the Habanera from Carmen) evokes initial nervous titters, yet these quickly recede to an awe-struck focus, even as he comically draws out a xylophone to accompany himself.

Anna Bjerre Larsen is also memorable, though her energies are less directed. She hurls herself headlong at emotions with the crazed enthusiasm of a kitten, and though she sometimes fails to hit the right note, she remains undeniably watchable and sanguine throughout.

Probing, bonkers, but ultimately life affirming, The Lessening of Difference leaves you effervescent with compassion and aching for a hug.

Production Information

The Place, London, November 24-25

Ben Wright
Performers include
Anna Bjerre Larsen, Lise Manavit, Keir Patrick, Nuno Silva
Running time

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