Home » London Theatre Reviews » Review of Show by Shechter II – Hofesh Shechter Company | Lyric Hammersmith

Review of Show by Shechter II – Hofesh Shechter Company | Lyric Hammersmith

Show: Credit Gabriele ZuccaI begin by mentioning the haze, or theatrical smoke, or special effect fog, or whatever phrase you care to use for that sort of thing, because almost everyone else around me, including Lyric Hammersmith regulars, couldn’t help but notice it. It was just so thick. For those old enough to recall when workplaces had smoking rooms, imagine, if you will, being sat there in a smoking room. That’s pretty much what it was like – minus, of course, the smell of cigarettes. I even found myself cleaning my glasses only to find, on putting them back on, my visibility was just as restricted as it was a moment before.

This is, a fellow theatregoer pointed out, quite typical for a Hofesh Shechter Company production (which made me wonder if they had ever considered not having so much haze for a change), as were the loud bangs and noises that permeated the relatively brief performance. This being dance, there is no dialogue to write home about – the only time, if I recall correctly, the company’s voices could be heard was when they were singing along to a tune towards the end of proceedings.

Considering it’s a show called Show, it doesn’t ‘show’ very much to begin with. The dim lighting and the thick haze did not lend itself to a clear view, but mercifully things did not stay that way. I will admit to being jolted by jarring loud noises that permeated the performance, occasionally unnecessarily, inasmuch as I couldn’t tell why the production felt it necessarily to crank the volume up at that precise moment.

It also begins ridiculously slowly. Brides have walked up the aisle at a faster pace than the company moves in the first couple of minutes or so. Irritatingly, the sound was, every so often, a wall of noise rather than anything that could be reasonably construed as ‘music’. At least – and this is a very significant factor for me – there is a discernible narrative of sorts. Even if part of it seems to involve a very high-speed version of the Game of Thrones series, as a number of characters, dressed (sort of) nobly in period costume, are shot, whacked and stabbed, before the murderer meets an untimely end as well.

But it would make for an even briefer performance if there were not other characters still to be performed, so people get up again as instantly as they had fallen. I had to remind myself this is a show in three acts – a thought that came in handy after the end of the second act, which ended in the taking of bows. The third act, unless understood as a separate act, would otherwise be a frustratingly long and disjointed sequence of ‘blink and you miss it’ scenes. The aptly named ‘Exit’ sees the company assume all sorts of various positions and contortions in a rather joyful demonstration of flexibility and versatility.

For the most part, there is a reliance on incremental movements rather than great leaps and bounces across the stage. What is particularly unnerving about this piece of theatre is that applause is given to what, at the end of the day, are acts of violence on stage. Make what you will of such a juxtaposition in a dazzling and intense production.

4 stars

Review by Chris Omaweng

The internationally-acclaimed choreographer, whose landmark pieces include Political Mother and 2017’s Grand Finale, now brings his unique, high-energy work to the Lyric Hammersmith for the first time, as part of a UK and world tour.

Shechter’s blackly comic portrayal of a group of anarchic clowns was rapturously received at Nederlands Dans Theater in 2016, and he now creates a brand new companion piece to sit alongside it. With its razor-sharp lighting and pulsating score, Shechter’s work has the energy of a rock gig combined with beautiful, moving choreography.

SHOW is performed by Shechter II, the 8 strong apprentice company chosen from the most inspiring young talent across the world.

SHOW is produced in association with HOME Manchester and Lyric Hammersmith, and received production support from Fondazione I Teatri Reggio Emilia and a production residency at the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, Brighton.

Hofesh Shechter / Shechter II
08 ‐ 12 May 2018
Book tickets for the Lyric Hammersmith


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