Review: FAR; Wayne McGregor Random Dance; Snape Maltings, March 19

I ONCE interviewed Wayne McGregor, a few years ago now, when his position as resident choreographer of The Royal Ballet was still in its infancy.

I remember being struck by how enthusiastic he was about dance, about generating wider enthusiasm for it as an art form. So engaging was he that I skipped away feeling I’d met someone very special indeed.

So when the opportunity to see the latest production by his own company - Random Dance - came up, I excitedly accepted and spent the drive from Ipswich to Snape telling my friend what a treat we were in for and what an inspiration McGregor is.

I wish I’d held my tongue.

Inspired by Roy Porter’s Flesh in the Age of Reason, an 18th century exploration into body, soul, thought and emotion, FAR was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Or ever want to see again.


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Imagine music so painful it shudders your soul, a half-lit stage and a series of dancers contorting into shapes that reminded me of Hollywood’s Lord of the Rings Gollum, and also on occasion, the painful scene in an episode of The Office, where David Brent shows off his moves.

I know I wasn’t alone in feeling let down - I watched enviously as no less than six people got up and walked out of this hour-long show.

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There can be no doubt that McGregor is an enormously talented choreographer - Random Dance is the resident company at Sadler’s Wells, this show is touring the world, January saw him awarded a CBE and he has recently finished being the government’s Youth Dance Champion.

Maybe it’s all gone to his head. Maybe being known for pushing boundaries and being innovative has become too much of a burden.

Whatever the reason, this show does no justice to either McGregor’s talent or the ten dancers.

I’m all for pushing boundaries, but this time, they were pushed too FAR.

Helen Johns

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