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Romancing the Apocalypse

“A deft blend of parody and pathos”

Rambert-trained duo Daniel Hay-Gordon and Eleanor Perry – aka Thick and Tight – pull a blinder with their latest showcase of lip-syncing physical portraiture, so deft in its blend of parody and pathos.

Their opening vignette is a hilarious depiction of a double-headed Barbara Cartland, smeared with blue eyeshadow, a monster of self-regard and misogyny spouting plummy diatribes about the horror of women’s lib and the marvellousness of men. But there’s a quieter moment – though the voice rattles on – when this Cartland seems somehow at sea in her perpetual egotism. It’s these flashes of empathy and imaginative dexterity that enrich the high-camp satire.

Dancers Vidya Patel, Harry Alexander and Edd Arnold make brilliantly mercurial appearances as Churchill, Warhol and Dietrich respectively, the latter’s jazzy slinkiness soon rupturing into full-bodied rage to the stomping sound of Girl Band.

The rest of the evening is dedicated to Derek Jarman, marking the 25th anniversary of his death. In collaboration with Corali, a company of artists with learning disabilities, Hay-Gordon and Perry evoke a world of vital physicality and colour backed by a flickering Super 8 projection.

Then there’s the wonderful Gay Gardens, an imaginary encounter between Jarman and Proust, both shadowed by illness and enthralled by nature.

There are elements of wry comedy – Perry’s moustachioed Proust wanly contemplates a croissant while Hay-Gordon’s Jarman is reborn as Nijinsky’s famously onanistic faun. They visit a 1980s gay club, haunted by Thatcher. What lingers is a profound and proud sense of tenderness, encapsulated by the pair’s final, elegant dance together.

A Night With Thick and Tight review at Lilian Baylis Studio, London – ‘a subversive delight’

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Production Details
Production nameRomancing the Apocalypse
VenueLilian Baylis Studio, Sadler’s Wells
StartsJanuary 9, 2020
EndsJanuary 11, 2020
Running time1hr 45mins
DirectorDaniel Hay-Gordon, Eleanor Perry
Set designerTim Spooner
Costume designerTim Spooner
Lighting designerLucy Hansom
CastDaniel Hay-Gordon, Edd Arnold, Eleanor Perry, Harry Alexander, Housni Hassan, Vidya Patel, Bethan Kendrick, Danny Smith, Jackie Ryan, Paul Davidson, Veneshia Bailey
Stage managerCarly Hook
ProducerThick, Tight
VerdictAn exceptional exercise in colourful, comic and heartfelt physical portraiture combining lip-sync and dance
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Anna Winter

Anna Winter

Anna Winter

Anna Winter

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