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Subject: "Pina Bausch, Masurca Fogo, Sadlers Wells, 31 Jan 2002" Archived thread - Read only
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Lynette H

01-02-02, 04:50 PM (GMT)
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"Pina Bausch, Masurca Fogo, Sadlers Wells, 31 Jan 2002"
   Pina Bausch, Masurca Fogo, Sadlers Wells, 31 Jan 2002

You canít get tickets for this, it sold out weeks ago, and there is a big queue for returns. Pina Bausch is at Sadlers Wells for four nights only. Thereís a packed and rather eclectic crowd, including some very posh corporate types holding a big reception. The work is much admired, with many on their feet applauding at the end. If you like Pina Bausch, it seems, you like it very much indeed. The programme contains a solemn statement (well, lots of them actually) about her audience: ďThe audience not only comprehend, they live, they hope, they suffer and fear with the performers. They are drawn into a highly concentrated experience of profound emotional intensity which shakes and moves them from insideĒ. Er, well, um, I wouldnít go that far. Masurca Fogo is quite a light-hearted piece of entertainment with some charmingly daffy bits of fun, and the best stuffed walrus you are ever likely to see on stage, but itís about as profound and moving as an Ealing comedy.

No harm in that though and perhaps the most fizzily entertaining of the episodes is the one which closes the first half, when the performers construct an impromptu swimming pool out of sheets of polythene and a few buckets of water and proceed to have a fun time shrieking and giggling, splashing each other and sliding along the floor. It looked enormous fun, so much so I half expected someone to clamber out of the stalls and join in. The walrus made an unexplained appearance at this point, proceeding with extreme dignity along the back of the stage. There are some other lovely images: a long line of couples, moving slowly across the stage with just the slightest sensual wiggle of the hips. But it is all very episodic with the surreal discontinuity of a dream, and not all episodes can hold the attention as well. The projection of images across the entire stage area seemed rather a distraction, with only a few odd images Ė a tiny on-stage dancer under the feet of two huge projected dancers Ė really striking home.

The dance episodes, when we get them, are worth waiting for. The solos are quite distinctive: for the men itís as if one of the ownerís limbs has suddenly gained a life if its own and lunges off in one direction with the rest of the body in frantic pursuit trying to get hold of it and pull it back, like a manic Dr Strangelove. The women are often more languid and fluid. But for both, a love of gravity is apparent: they adore it. Over and over again, a woman climbs up a manís back and throws herself forward into waiting arms. Dancers skim across the floor on all floors like some insect on a pond, as if they are trying to peer through the surface: they scrabble along the ground as if trying to find some crack to break through. Itís a very distinctive vocabulary, and the dancers have bags of energy. The music is heavily Latin or Portuguese flavoured, and the cue for lots of pretty print dresses for the women and suits and hats for the men. Itís a pleasant and unthreatening mix.

The second half repeated many motifs from the first, but the stand out episode here was where the company built a house on stage out of various bits of boxes and cardboard and all piled inside for what looked like a really good party. This would have been an excellent point to wind up the show (it is a long evening in the theatre) but the production carried on for longer, finishing with rather kitsch scenes of the company lying in semi darkness while time lapse pictures of roses opening were projected and sentimental renditions of sixties songs were played. Rather twee.

Iím not sure that Pina Bausch is my cup of tea: itís a very particular and idiosyncratic flavour, not much like anything else. It is certainly conceived and executed on an ambitious scale, and itís good to have a chance to look at the company if you can and decide if this is for you.

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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Pina Bausch, Masurca Fogo, Sadlers Wells, 31 Jan 2002 Robert 02-02-02 1
     RE: Pina Bausch, Masurca Fogo, Sadlers Wells, 2nd Feb 2002 Brendan McCarthymoderator 03-02-02 2

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02-02-02, 02:24 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Pina Bausch, Masurca Fogo, Sadlers Wells, 31 Jan 2002"
In response to message #0
   An interesting night, like you I am not sure, I had hoped for something closer to the great Kurt Joos, but it was fascinating.
The programme gets my award for the worst theatre programme ever! Much too big too expensive typographically jumbled and full of gobbledegook.

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Brendan McCarthymoderator

03-02-02, 07:07 AM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Pina Bausch, Masurca Fogo, Sadlers Wells, 2nd Feb 2002"
In response to message #1
   LAST EDITED ON 03-02-02 AT 11:04 AM (GMT)

Great review Lynette! I went last night, and afterwards had the deepest, most restful, happiest night's sleep in as long as I can remember. (I don't ever expect a reviewer to say anything like that.......)

Some of Pina Bausch's images have long burning fuses - and take time to explode in the subconscious. I expect the same will be true of Masurca Fogo. It wasn't Bausch at her very best. Part II needed editing and, like Lynette, I thought it would have been better to have ended it earlier (not in the hut, perhaps, but on the final surreally beautiful beach scene).

The house gave it a standing ovation; it didn't quite deserve that, but it was a good night. Not just an aesthetic experience, but psychotherapy as well.

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