Wednesday 18 August by James Ellingworth
Assembly @ George Street 5–29 Aug, not 17, 5:25pm – 6:25pm
Contemporary dance isn't one of the Fringe's most accessible artforms. It's unlikely that the elegantly mystifying Anatomy of Fantasy will do much to alter this,
but it does at least offer something for the casual observer as well as the seasoned expert. Russian company Do Theatre concerns itself with a theme
everyone can relate to - sex. Moving in highly stylised and often challenging fashion between scenes including a first meeting of lovers, orgasm and pregnancy,
it can be easy to lose the thread. Anatomy of Fantasy combines the grace of classical ballet with the innovation of avant-garde dance in a way that
can be spellbinding. The show is at its best in the higher-tempo sequences. The sex act itself is viewed through the timeless metaphor of death as three
female dancers cavort with scythes, combining discliplined poise and raw violence to great effect. The music and sound effects, produced live at the side of the stage,
must rank as some of the best in Edinburgh this August. For anyone searching for a way into the world of modern dance, Anatomy of Fantasy could be a good
place to start. While not as esoteric as some works in the genre, the show still requires the audience to put in considerable effort to appreciate it fully.
Anatomy of Fantasy
Assembly @ George Street until Sunday
August 29, 2010
Time really puts things into perspective. If you come to Do Theatre’s new show with any memories or expectations based on their previous creations – the last one,
Hangman, was seen in Edinburgh in 2007 – you’ll find yourself having to reconsider. Where their previous work was chaotic, whimsical and exhilarating,
their latest is thoughtful, meditative and intense. Where they previously drew their inspiration from films, fairytales and cabaret, they now turn to slickness and sci-fi.
Where there was wonder, here is wisdom. This is a good thing – it is about moving in step with the times. Twenty years after the end of communism, this Russian
company based in Germany has re-examined the key themes and issues underlying their work now. Liminality is still part of it, but rather than being just a vehicle
for expression of complex emotions, their art has become a means of making illuminating statements about accumulated experience. This piece, still haunted by
some striking mythical imagery and drenched in deep urges, is elegantly packaged as a series of still lives and contemporary prints on the theme of four seasons.
And therefore, yes – it is about the passage of time.
Review by Duska Radosavljevic
Published online at
11:27 on Thursday 12 August 2010
Anatomy Of Fantasy
A mixture of physical theatre and contemporary dance, 'Anatomy of Fantasy' is totally baffling, but violently impressive.
The demanding physical score provides incredible stage-images, and the tactile choreography occasionally approaches the sublime,
as when the dancers dive under string and whirl scythes around. An early sequence of furious rolls, slides and lifts is a particular highlight,
showcasing some exhilarating ensemble work and liquid physicality.
Assembly@George Street, 5 - 29 Aug (not 17), 5.25pm, £11.00 - £13.50, fpp 142
tw rating: 4/5
ANATOMY OF FANTASY @
Posted by Gareth K Vile, Sun 22 Aug 2010
Where does the physical end and the desire begin?
Theatre Do has a close connection to Derevo: the psychedelic invocation of mental states, shaven heads and menacing atmosphere mark out
Anatomy of Fantasy as distinctively Russian physical theatre. They even share the slightly rough attitude to presentation and eschewing the clear
narrative for evocative sequences. Anatomy is less coherent and direct than Derevo's Harlekin: the relationships between the male protagonist,
his female antagonist and the three, lurking goddesses is vague and mercurial, sliding from erotic to violent. And where Harlekin is austere, Anatomy
is almost lush: the stage is entwined in red thread, the goddesses become pregnant and the video footage lights the stage with autumnal imagery.
Nevertheless, death looms throughout: scythes are wielded, savage battles intersperse the sensual dances,
and the protagonist appears trapped within a mental cube. Both the body and fantasy, the physical and the mental are prisons, the hero struggling to
escape under the watchful trio's disinterested gaze. The capricious women -sometimes benign, sometimes aggressive - flesh out the male's passionate
writhing. Despite its opaque meaning, Anatomy strikes at the emotions. Lyrical and sinister, it transports its characters into a world of shadow, illusion
and allusion. Thoroughly mysterious it connects the mind's wandering to the body's anguish or ecstasy: the ghost haunting the machine.
Anatomy of Fantasy
Assembly @ George Street | Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Anatomy of Fantasy is a visual and highly visceral tale of the sacred cycle of life. The piece opens chillingly with three motionless figures lying
on the ground, each with a blood-red yarn around her throat, these cords controlled and pulled by an androgynous puppet-master/mistress of fate.
An arresting image, which suggests a thread that connects our materialistic body with the spiritual dimension of delusions, dreams and fantasies.
The clever and well-employed set is a metal square frame and three panels of screens, behind which figures can lurk and wait, become concealed
then be revealed, and upon which projected images and shadows can play. There’s a beautiful live soundscape by DJ/flamenco dancer/percussionist
Phillipe Fontess, a bald and black-suited shadowy figure at the side of the performance space whose staccato foot movements and upright grace contrast
with the lyricism and flow of the trio of three female dancers. The red wool threads are a recurring motif, creating cats’ cradles of conundrums that characters
get bound and caught in, and then scythed and freed from, suggesting to me Wiccan practice and Korean spiritual traditions. We watch archetypal
characters: the trio of three women suggest the three Fates spinning, measuring and cutting of the cord of life – or evoke sirens and demons –
but I find the choreography a little too mainstream sexy. They are overseen and controlled by a matriarchal figure: sower of seeds, holder of the reins
and threads of life (Irina Kozlova, bald, bold and commanding, yet with lighter-than-light feet, fulfils this role beautifully). Many sequences,
although elegant and gorgeous to watch. I can appreciate the skill, ideas and proficiency, yet I closed my eyes more than once in order to be with my own
images, suggested by the engaging and resonant soundscape. Anatomy of Fantasy is a shape-shifting fantasy full of mythical encounters, of tenderness,
attraction and compulsion, of the passage of time and continuum of life – beautiful to watch.