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Motionhouse: Scattered review at Peacock Theatre, London – ‘daring feats’

Motionhouse's Scattered at the Peacock Theatre, London. Photo: Sharon Bradford Motionhouse's Scattered at the Peacock Theatre, London. Photo: Sharon Bradford
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Motionhouse makes highly physical and daring dance work, often performed outdoors.

The set always plays a major role in the company’s work, and this is true of Scattered, the first work in artistic director Kevin Finnan’s Earth trilogy. The defining feature of Simon Dorman’s design is an imposing sloped wall. It’s the basis for a typically athletic dance work that sets out to explore our relationship with water.

In the opening scene the dancers are hunched, their bodies convulsing as if from cold or pain. Behind them animated images are projected. A glacier cracks and crumbles. Domestic objects – chairs, dustbins – float by on icebergs. The dancers appear small against the towering wall.

This potent reminder of the power water has to change and shape our world is soon lost amid a rush of adrenalin-fuelled movement. The dancers dive and slide across the wall; they fall from its height and clamber up its steep surface – a feat arguably no less dangerous than it looks. These scenes are explosive, full of soaring lifts and fast-paced partnering.

While impressive, there are only a few occasions where the animation and the movement truly feel integrated. These moments are visually effective but there aren’t enough of them.

With Charge, the third work in the trilogy, premiering in October, there’s potential for further development of these themes and ideas. But where Scattered really delivers is in its rush, its athleticism and its power.

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Daring feats of dance from a skilled and fearless company