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Nederlands Dans Theater review at Edinburgh Playhouse – ‘impeccably danced triple bill’

Nederlands Dans Theater at Edinburgh Playhouse. Photo: Beth Chalmers Nederlands Dans Theater at Edinburgh Playhouse. Photo: Beth Chalmers
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Something remarkably febrile lies at the centre of Nederlands Dans Theater’s Edinburgh triple bill. A man in the throes of death recalls a life littered with violent encounters in Gabriela Carrizo’s richly realised The Missing Door, a work replete with a fizzing unheimlich energy.

An apparently ordinary room flanked with a pistachio wall and five doors becomes a gaping and ghastly unconscious realm in a retro domestic form. Lamps flicker, the walls sag and unbidden objects and bodies heave through the doorways. Distorted voices pepper a slippery score.

While the work advertises its debt to Lynch, it’s not merely derivative; Carrizo’s choreographic language is agile and sharply imaginative. Shades of soupiness and brittle stiffness combine, as the dancers seem subject to hydraulic forces beyond their control; they flap like fish, skitter and droop. There’s an extraordinary moment when a woman seems to emerge from within the upholstery of a green armchair, surfacing like a repressed memory.

Sudden visual gags disconcertingly jolt the tone from subtle horror to surreal humour and back again, as almost every interaction is charged with gendered brutality. The mess of evidence, though, is dutifully cleared away, gazes averted from guilt: a stark political reality inheres within the meta-theatrical psychodrama.

Both other pieces, Shoot the Moon and Stop-Motion, by house choreographers Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon, showcase the company’s exquisite technical capabilities, although the inclusion of video is sometimes slightly distracting. While Stop-Motion verges on impenetrable, it ends on a note of crystalline purity, laced with elegiac pathos.

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Impeccably danced triple bill with a dark delight at the centre