Róisín O’Brien’s research explores two contradictory images of Donald Trump. Admired by some, criticized by many, the USA President’s personality has sparked a stream of divided opinions. “Make America Great Again” resonates in the background while Christina Liddell moves with extreme confidence reflecting Trump’s immense ego, particularly in the wide arm gestures. Katie Armstrong’s jittery and tense phrases bring to the foreground a paranoid and neurotic figure, emphasised by a stammering effect on Trump’s voice. Two personalities collide and entangle at the end in one single vivid image. The powerful expressive ability of both dancers suggests the potential to stretch the topic and exaggerate the absurdity of the character even further.
In Father Figurine the combination of spoken word and hip-hop dance reveals the fragile relationship between father and son, as a result of a trauma. Unexpressed thoughts and the inability to communicate uncover a sequence of suffered dance movements where the pain is captured and thrown out violently. It’s a struggle that leads them to a fight that ends with a hint of emotional contact. Tobi Oduntan and Isaac Ouro-Gnaomanage to powerfully express the complexity of such feelings creating a very strong connection with the audience. In their gestures nothing is left to the imagination, it’s all there on stage – troubled and real.
Reclaim the Word Slut! sees three women pronouncing alternately random phrases like “I’m the most admirable slut / It’s my choice if you’re gonna hurt me” while executing articulated dance sequences and interacting with tiny colourful shoes that remind us of Cinderella. In a vivacious and visually effective flow each dancer takes their own space to evoke a personal experience with incredible theatrical expressivity. This piece is strongly performed, a real surprise! By taking back the word “slut” and using it with a positive connotation, it claims the right for women to decide what’s good or bad, right or wrong.
Reviewed by Francesca Marotto at The Place‘s Resolution Festival on 19 January 2018