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Plan B for Utopia review at the Place, London – ‘upfront dance-theatre’

Solene Weinachter in Plan B for Utopia at the Place, London. Photo: Nicole Guarino
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Why is it easier to imagine the end of the world than the world changing for the better? That is the question that the opening of Joan Cleville’s Plan B for Utopia poses and in the light of recent political events sadly it’s a question that clearly still needs to be asked.

Plan B for Utopia is not all that gloomy. Cleville (whose part is sometimes performed by John Kendall) and Solene Weinachter share anecdotes and ideas, some reflective, some comical and some endearingly and utterly bonkers.

They start by dancing besides a disco ball, a tongue-in-cheek take on the kind of moves that seem a good idea after a drink or two. They continue with a series of songs, stories and a birthday celebration that ends inside a cardboard box. In a child-like manner Cleville and Weinachter transform the box into a vessel for anything they can imagine. Their comedy is perfectly timed, and their sweet, if somewhat mad relationship, feels honest and warm.

There are poignant moments too. Weinachter dances alone, her body collapsing in disjointed movements until Cleville offers her a hand of support, transforming the solo into a tender duet.

Cleville’s image of Utopia isn’t particularly well-defined but one dream does seep through – the idea of a place to call one’s own and share with another. It recurs in stories, in blurted-out hopes and the tiny wooden building blocks strewn upon the stage. Whether it’s literal or metaphoric is unclear but it doesn’t matter.

Plan B for Utopia may not provide the answer to its opening question but it does show that by sharing with one another, and with a little affection, humour and perseverance, we can perhaps achieve more than we think.

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Upfront dance-theatre that’s thought-provoking, touching and funny