Radical theatre company NeedCompany and Ballett Frankfurt have joined forces - or rather confronted each other, to use the words of the programme - to tell a tale about James Joyce. It's called DeaDDogsDon'tDance. The piece is touring Europe and the Queen Elizabeth Hall was the first theatre to present it after the opening run in Frankfurt.
Although there is some acting, much of the work involves one of the assembled company narrating a story or just a stream of consciousness. Often this is accompanied by the others doing various diversionary things: like adjusting their dress, donning deers' heads, moving oddly, trampolining, playing the drums, playing with themselves...
There is a fair bit of sex - well a lot actually. And in lots of rich variety too.
It would be nice to say the dancers lifted the piece or revitalised us all with a stunning section in the middle. Alas not. For the most part they seemed criminally wasted, be it as dancers, actors or stage props. There was perhaps one section worth mentioning - a pas de deux in a chair which was both sexual and romantic. I guess this might form the basis of another piece at some time.
Some brave souls in the audience walked out after about 25 minutes. At about 35 minutes more were leaving - a few each 5 minutes.
As a play/piece of theatre it was hard to say what it achieved. As a piece of dance it did even less. Anybody going to see this on the strength of the Ballett Frankfurt name is liable to be very disappointed. A terrible waste.