Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

BBC Showing of a Welsh Performance- Doesn't Happen Often

Broadcast Media Reporting The Arts

Marc Rees & National Dance Company Wales- P.A.R.A.D.E. , BBC4 & i-Player , November-06-17
Broadcast Media Reporting The Arts by Marc Rees & National Dance Company Wales- P.A.R.A.D.E. It is not often that a work of performance from the Wales Millennium Centre receives a cross-Britain television showing- and even “not often” might well be an over-statement. The showing of Marc Rees' re-imagining of a centrepiece of the great artistic efflorescence of a century ago is a thrilling evocation of a live event. It is not the live event and the thirty-minute slot allowed by the schedulers means a shoehorning of the promenade part. Nonetheless it is still a service to those outside Cardiff and gratitude is due to all concerned.

The first section has a compressed pace to it. A brief introduction sketches the incendiary meeting in 1917 Paris of Satie, Cocteau, Diaghilev and Picasso. Marc Rees describes the original performance of outdoor acts and circus and explains the adaptation to include the rhetoric of a modern day politician (Eiry Thomas) in full voice. A robot marches on in strong allusion to “Metropolis.” Caroline Finn describes the development in her choreography, individual creativity and spark emerging from the mundanity of repetitive tasks. Chris Stock, principal percussionist, shows off his range of bottles for playing-vodka bottles at one end to pills at the other.

The editing has to scamper somewhat through the riot of response to automation and the consumers inside with their shopping trolleys. But the dance is shown in full to Satie's score unchanged. Original film from the events of the era like this has a tendency to look dated. It featured in the recent Tate retrospective of Sonia Delaunay. The eighteen dancers on the WMC's stage have the immediacy of present performance. The design incorporates a wall of cardboard boxes. A dancer is near-swallowed in one. Black and yellow industrial tape is unwound and rewound bodies. The effect is undeniably strange and mesmerising.

Caroline Finn and Marc Rees share in the curtain call. There is a multiplicity of credits. The BBC National Orchestra of Wales is directed by Martin Yates. Jac Ifan Moore is associate director. Branwen Davies is writer, Rhodri Huw director. The programme copyright is that of National Dance Company Wales. (The credits appear to suggest that BBC Cymru Wales was without involvement.)

“P.A.R.A.D.E.” can be watched until 5th December on programmes/b09f469j

Reviewed by: Adam Somerset

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