In Search of Dinozord review at the Place, London – ‘haunting and harrowing’
Congolese dancer-choreographer Faustin Linyekula’s In Search of Dinozord is diffuse and difficult; a combination of movement, spoken word and song that together attest to the disturbing political and personal realities of life in a country where “the hills smell of war” and “you can’t expect a bowl of milk a day.”
The show, Linyekula tells us, was made as a kind of grave for a friend who died of plague, a burgeoning writer whose scraps of letters and documents spill from a red tin trunk. Scored by fragments of Mozart’s Requiem, it’s a piece fuelled by loss and lament, where even one of the actors – Antoine Vumilia Muhindo – is described as a living ghost, back from the dead, an escapee from a Kinshasa penitentiary where he faced execution for a dabbling in revolutionary politics as a student.
Muhindo’s memoirs – extracts of which are projected onto a wooden screen – are both incomprehensibly harrowing and elegantly lyrical, infused with a resonant poetry that interrogates the very existence of its own beauty. He has, after all, witnessed the torture of a child soldier (“small as Tom Thumb and tough as a rock…the rock crumbled”), seen a newborn baby thrown against a wall, smelled roasting human flesh. “I saw it all, but history will forget it.”
A trio of dancers form a writhing ball; upright, they’re drawn into convulsions, their torsos wrenched back, fingers clawed. Agonised spasms morph into winding groin-based grooves, reminiscent of Congolese Ndombolo dance, but their faces remain blank, joyless.
We need your help…
When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.
The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.
We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.
Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.