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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.

Verdict
Haunting, harrowing dance-theatre tackles Congo's violent history

Production

Production
In Search of Dinozord
Venue
The Plave
City
London
Starts
June 15, 2018
Ends
June 16, 2018
Press night
June 15, 2018
Authors
Richard Kabako, Antoine Vumilia Muhindo
Composer
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Arvo Part, Jimi Hendrix
Director
Faustin Linyekula
Cast includes
Jeannot Kumbonyeki, Papy Ebotani, Yves Mwamba, Faustin Linyekula, Maurice Mbwiti, Antoine Vumilia Muhindo, Hlengiwe Lushaba
Producer
Studios Kabako
Running time
1hr 30mins