PUZ/ZLE review at Sadlers Wells London
PUZ/ZLE opens with a digital projection on a stone wall of an empty art gallery, the camera gliding through never-ending doorways as Cherkaoui’s dancers, in real-time, are drawn towards the projection. They, of course, cannot pass through the image and so begin shunting into the wall, like flagrantly docile insects repeatedly slamming into a closed window.
Thus begins Cherkaoui’s abstract exploration of connectivity. The stone walls that are moved about throughout the piece (creating steps, plinths, platforms) can be seen as metaphorical walls, barriers constructed between people and cultures, and broken down through persistent, successful communication. Weaving between the walls and the dancers, Corsican polyphonic singing group A Filleta, musician Kazunari Abe and Lebanese singer Fadia Tomb El-Hage fill the air with a soporific, meditative haze of sounds that drifts porously between East and Western influence.
Throughout, the company instinctively responds to one another in a way that moves them beyond a close-knit ensemble. They spill from behind the walls like a herd, attuned to every twitch, every breath of the group and alert to any potential hazards (and there are many in the shifting set). On occasion the choreography demands that they turn on each other – at one point showering rocks into a hole in which a dancer huddles weeping – yet they never loose that sense of organic unity.
Cherkaoui may wish us to watch PUZ/ZLE and ponder why certain connections fail where others succeed, yet the palpable relationship between those on stage ensures the most striking outcome is how magical a successful connection can be. Watching people trust one another so unquestioningly is a privilege.
Sadler’s Wells, London, April 24-25, then touring until 27 October
- Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui
- Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui
- Cast includes
- Kazunari Abe, Fadia Tomb El-Hage, Michael Watts, Ben Fury, Louise Michel Jackson, Sang-Hun Lee
- Running time
- 1hr 50mins
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