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Cruel, Companhia de Dança Deborah Colker, Newcastle Theatre Royal

IF pulling on your socks in the morning gives you twinges, this lot will make you feel envious.

Cruel, Companhia de Danca Deborah Colker

IF pulling on your socks in the morning gives you twinges, this lot will make you feel envious.

In fact, you’ll feel envious even if it doesn’t. Deborah Colker’s Brazilian dance stars are human pipe cleaners – lacking in curves, maybe, but infinitely flexible.

Colker is an interesting character. The programme runs through her CV, including her periods as a pianist and a professional volleyball player and explaining how, in 1984, she was asked to choreograph some movements for a play. Since then she has worked out moves for pop stars, directed a show for Cirque du Soleil and become a queen of the Rio Carnival.

All this she brings to bear on her contemporary dance creations, of which Cruel is the ninth.

It’s a piece in three acts, each featuring a different prop. First the 16 dancers – nine women and seven men – perform beneath the giant lampshade affair pictured above.

All are dressed differently and uniformity of movement is something that comes and goes.

It’s quite romantic at first, the girls in high heels and amplified snatches of Vivaldi, before harsher sounds, occasionally resembling a lawnmower being pushed over broken glass, give a jagged edge.

It gets more obviously cruel when the second act brings a giant table on casters into play and the dancers start mucking about with knives.

Best’s for last and the appearance of four giant revolving mirrors, reflective on only one side and each with a hole in the middle through which legs and heads and torsos wriggle and writhe.

Not comfortable but impressive!

:: Cruel, Companhia de Dança Deborah Colker, Newcastle Theatre Royal

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