YOU’RE invited into a surreal world peopled by a blinded cop, malicious virgin and a prairie girl who dreams of something better as The Mark Bruce Company visits Dance City this weekend – and The Journal has a special deal offering readers two tickets for the price of one.
Made in Heaven is the latest work by the dance theatre company and promises a dark, sometimes funny, sideshow blend of ancient themes with the dystopia of contemporary life, challenging the idea of heaven and hell.
There’s chain-gang dancing on the edge of an inferno in there, alongside film references and a musical backdrop ranging from classical Debussy to rock band The Black Keys – all making up what’s described as a “savagely beautiful” show.
Acclaimed choreographer, director and dancer Bruce, whose past successes include Love and War, Sea of Bones and Skellig – the opera based on local author David Almond’s book which he co-devised for The Sage Gateshead – explains that his ideas often stem from images in dreams whose magic he tries to capture for an audience.
“The beginnings of my work emerge from the subconscious,” he says.
Made in Heaven references a childhood dream in which Bruce was pursued through a forest by a traffic warden – “a character that disappeared only to emerge in another dream about 35 years later, as if it had been just sitting inside me ready to come out at any time,” he says.
“I have no prejudice towards the origins of influences – they can be highbrow or trashy – the stories are the same whether images of Dante’s Inferno, the Odyssey or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”
This one, he says, “is set in perhaps a near future or that of Dante’s Divine Comedy, or somewhere over the rainbow”.
So viewers might spot references to The Wizard of Oz; even Cool Hand Luke or Yul Brynner’s Westworld.
And those who know Bruce’s previous work can look out for recurring symbols – mirrored shades, for instance, and that chain gang.
He says the show is also about fear and denial, brainwashing and self- imposed blindness.
“It challenges the idea of a heaven and a hell that is sold to us; a potential creation of prejudice and paranoia. Made in Heaven is a celebration of the imagination, the savage and the human spirit all portrayed in the style of a surreal sideshow.”
Made in Heaven is at Dance City, Newcastle at 8pm on Saturday. For tickets (£12; £8 concessions) visit www.dancecity.co.uk, or call 0191 261 0505.
TO take advantage of a two-for-one ticket offer, quote promotion code JOURNALMB1 which can be redeemed online or at the ticket office. It’s applied at the check-out on any value tickets (cheapest being free). A limited number of tickets are available. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.