Wednesday, 4 May 2022

REVIEW: La Veronal- Pasionaria at Sadler’s Wells Theatre

Marcos Morau’s dance company, La Veronal, returns to Sadler’s Wells for the first time since 2015. He describes Pasionaria as being 'a place everyone talks about and a place of progress. Life has become an artificial landscape and inhabitants have lost any kind of passion’. 

A multi-disciplinary piece, Pasionaria could be described as a sci-fi performance. Designed by Max Glaenzel, the dimly lit set looks like it could be in a school, or a station, somewhere that is a purgatory point in life that everyone is trying to hurriedly move on from. There is a row of white cushioned benches on the lowest level, with a telephone and a door locked by a code. A large white staircase takes up the majority of the stage, with high sides that mostly shield the identity of the people walking down. There is a window top left to the outside, lit up with stars and the moon, that expands and shrinks throughout the piece as if this building is moving around space.

Pasionaria is certainly the most obscure dance I have ever seen. There is a narrative, although it is difficult to decipher. The eight dancers twist, turn and bend themselves backwards as if they are robotic toys coming to life and contorting themselves to avoid danger in this dystopian place. 

Juan Cristobal Saavedra’s sound design is harrowing and cleverly done. The combination of 70s horror music (very Close Encounters of the Third Mind), ASMR of whispers, computer game sound effects and canned laughter are fascinating and keep the pace of the performance snappy, the theme almost changes every few moments; switching from the pace of a TV show to the intensity of an escape room, interspersed with snippets of incredible duets and ensemble dances. Silvia Delagneau’s costume design is diverse, and the props and prosthetics are creepy and unsettling, although difficult to peel your eyes away from.

This show is certainly interesting to watch, if you’re wanting a straight dance piece then this is not it, but if you’re keen to try something new then I would recommend!

Review by Hannah Storey

Rating: ★★★★

Seat: Stalls H29 | Price of Ticket: £20

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