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Aislinn Mulligan and Antonio Harris Sonntag

Deptford Collective Break in News

Edifice Dance Blood Wedding


Sonntag explores the social effects of drugs, opening the night with a rave party. From the high to the coming down, the couple formed by Aislinn Mulligan and Antonio Harris present a multidisciplinary piece that plays with circus, dance and theatre. Their work shows ambitious intentions but it is still a work in progress that aims for higher expectations. The development of the disciplines can be taken further and the connections between them reinforced.

Break in News, as its programme notes say, has the intention to reflect about the media as a manipulative force. Not quite reaching that goal, what the Deptford Collective shows is a sum of disconnected images that do not fit together as a whole. It is obvious that the work is consciously thought through, however the piece is built in a way that just brings confusion to the spectator. Humans have the natural propensity for making connections from ideas so, either in an abstract or in a narrative way, the piece demands internal links that bring it all together from the inside out.

Blood Wedding presents a love triangle not just between one women and two men but between dance styles. Edifice Dance manages to marry ballroom and contemporary overusing lyrical mannerisms as the meeting point for both styles to get along. Carmine De Amicis and Harriet Waghorn open the show with a vibrant and passionate pas de deux. The dancers partnering is coordinated, aggressively delicate, juicy... like the best sex ever! After a punching start, the tension decreases but not the intensity. Another duet, with Nacho Garoz in the male role, shows an austere yet beautiful sequence in a loop. The transitions from sober contemporary to feisty balletic ballroom are smooth, showing specially the versatility of the female. Although the piece was well-balanced, a slightly shorter version would avoid the sense of repetition that comes through by the end.

Anna Cabre-Verdiell

It's funny that there isn't much dance made on the subject of drugs, seeing as certain drugs really make you want to dance. Aislinn Mulligan and Antonio Harris buck that trend in Sonntag, an original piece that combines dance, circus and imagined intoxication. It starts on a high, the pair spinning joyfully as the chemicals kick in, with Harris stumbling and throwing himself up and down a Chinese pole, perfectly demonstrating the disconnect between feeling invincible and lacking self-control. It's a little bit of a comedown from then on, a series of scenes that could do with some dramaturgy, but it's a work in progress with lots of potential.

"What are the latest developments, Alice?" asks a fake news anchor, and the reporter stands there smiling dumbly with her mic, saying nothing. Because indeed, nothing of note has happened here. Deptford Collective's Break in News is a piece seeking a point. Apparently a sideswipe at the inanity of 24-hour news culture, in reality it's a seemingly random collection of absurd actions, costume changes and funny voices. It's clearly not random though, as everything is purposeful and particular, but if they want to make satire or social commentary it needs to be a lot more incisive than this.

The night's finale is a cut above the rest and time to revel in movement. A Blood Wedding-inspired love triangle with a woman (Harriet Waghorn) trapped between a passionate, dangerous affair and a stolid husband. Frankly, they both make her miserable and she needs to cut and run, but in the meantime, her torrid entanglements with a red-blooded Stanley Kowalski type (Carmine De Amicis) provide some powerful partner work. Pulses are racing and bodies heaving in organic, earthy waves, but then Waghorn is whipped out and back in tight, lightning-quick Latin spins – it's an interesting amalgam of styles, from some excellent dancers.

Lyndsey Winship


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