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Candoco: Face in/Let’s Talk About Dis review at Sadler’s Wells – ‘a lively double bill’

Yasmeen Godder's FAce In, part of the double bill by Candoco Dance Company at Sadler's Wells, London. Photo: Tristram Kenton Yasmeen Godder's FAce In, part of the double bill by Candoco Dance Company at Sadler's Wells, London. Photo: Tristram Kenton
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Yasmeen Godder’s new creation for Candoco Dance Company, Face In, is one of the final works programmed by the company’s former artistic directors, Stine Nilsen and Pedro Machado. The performers engage in short bursts of action beneath bright neon lights. They grapple with one another. They contort their faces, and paw at each other’s limbs. As the piece progresses it becomes increasingly absurd.

For the dancers, it looks a lot of fun, but as an audience member it’s like you’ve arrived late to a party. Sober, stood at the edge of the room, it’s not easy to join in. As bold and uninhibited as the piece is, Face In feels like its eccentricity has been given prominence over its ideas.

The second piece in the double bill, Hetain Patel’s Let’s Talk About Dis, was created for the company in 2014. It is, by contrast, an open and inviting piece. The simple, game-show style structure allows each performer a chance to step up to the mic and, through words, sign language, and snippets of movement, talk about themselves and their experiences.

This is all conducted with clarity and humour. The performers make fun of themselves and their art form.

Frustratingly though, though the piece creates a space to talk about disability, it merely scratches the surface. You long for Patel’s work to dig deeper, and to use Candoco’s position as a company of disabled and non-disabled dancers on the main stage at Sadler’s Wells to really broaden the discussion around disability.

Candoco Dance Company: ‘We’re interested in work that shifts the perception of ability’

Verdict
Lively, theatrical Candoco double-bill, that tends to skim the surface
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