July 23, 2024

An hour well spent on the edge of tears

SMOTHER press 1 copyright Cody Choi-001

Seven young dancers take to a misty stage and roll in and out of each others arms for an hour at the Theater Royal Stratford East.

Smother is a show about relationships, the ins and outs, the ups and downs.

The dancing is sensual and tender, turning and twisting and occasionally athletic.

Its emotional too. The choreography and execution successfully conveys feelings of longing, of being lost in the crowd and the joy of finding someone.

It makes me think about my own children, and how they’ll fair in love as they mature. The heart can be a lonely hunter. Watching my children walking across the stage looking for someone to love makes me feel helpless.

The show reaches its high point in the first half hour when a woman manages to pick and seduce a mate from a crowd of passers-by.

Soon after, two dancers play out a time-series set of photographs depicting the various emotional stages that lovers commonly circle through as the months and years pass by. Its impressive.

This show is not overly sentimental. For every romance, there’s ambivalence, conflicted emotions and at the show’s end, disgust.

The show soundtrack seems to draw heavily on the singing of one female vocalist, Daughter, or on the singing of a lot of singers who all sound like Daughter. Daughter sounds a bit like Cat Power, I think I’ve heard her on television advertisements. The singing on the soundtracks is so tender, the lyrics so touching, and the music so moving, its difficult to work out who should take credit for the success of this show, the dance troupe, the producer or the musicians.

Whatever the answer, the combined effect of the music and the dancing was to permanently place me on the edge of tears.

Had the tears come they would have been warm tears, this show makes you feel good.

An hour of this was just right, I left feeling happier and lifted.



Thursday 13 April & Saturday 15 April, 8pm, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Gerry Raffles Square, London, E15 1BN Box Office 020 8534 0310 Tickets £12 www.stratfordeast.com

Wednesday 10 May, Lincoln Drill Hall Freeschool Lane, Lincoln, LN2 1EY. Box Office: 01522 873894 www.lincolndrillhall.com

Tuesday 23 May, South Hill Park Arts, Ringmead, Bracknell, RG12 7PA, Phone: 01344 484 123, www.southhillpark.org.uk

Friday 26 May, Dance City Temple Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 4BR Box office 0191 261 0505 www.dancecity.co.uk

Thursday 1& Friday 2 June Birmingham Hippodrome (Patrick Centre) Hurst St, Southside, Birmingham, B5 4TB, Box Office: 0844 338 5000. www.dancexchange.org.uk

Tuesday 20 June, Theatre Royal Bath (the Egg) Sawclose, Bath BA1 1ET. Box office: 01225 823409 www.theatreroyal.org.uk

Thursday 22 June, Courtyard Theatre, Edgar St, Hereford, HR4 9JR. Box office 01432 340555 www.courtyard.org.uk



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