Shh!

Sue Williams and Roy Campbell-Moore

Wales Millennium Centre, Weston Studio

13th Oct 2013

 

It is said that the pen is mightier than the sword, but what you can do when words just can’t express how you feel. In the appropriately named Shh! silence ruled as a couple wordlessly vied for each other’s attention and battled to be in control of themselves and each other.

This exciting collaboration between acclaimed visual artist Sue Williams and artistic associate of National Dance Company Wales Roy Campbell-Moore defies categorization; part dance, part theatre, part art installation. It is a thorough and intriguing investigation into sexual politics, gender, power, security and eroticism.

Performed and developed by renowned dance artists Chloe Loftus and Jem Treays the silent struggle played out in full view of an audience who were invited to walk around the space and see the action from every angle. The battlefield was the blueprint of the couple’s house outlined in white tape on the floor, furnished sparsely by just the bare essentials with the addition a pole dancing podium centre stage. This minimalism also extended to the costume; the pair were often in various states of undress, sometimes to arouse, other times to completely reveal their insecurities and self doubt.

Chloe Loftus from www.nomorepink.com

The choreography was powerful and emotive especially the solo sections. The woman alone in a corridor of light seemed tortured as she violently contorted her body silently screaming of female anxiety. The man alone in the bedroom, lifting weights whilst gazing at himself in the mirror wordlessly cried out about his loneliness and the male need to reach visual perfection. Some of the movement was truly mesmerising - an extended scene on the living room armchair where the couple silently fought for possession of the space slowly and sinisterly grew from playful shoves to violent lunges as the audience powerlessly watched this very personal and physical conflict.

Certain moments were so intriguing that it would have been nice to see more of them. The room was full of tension and excitement when the man leapt across the dining room table, grabbed the woman, stayed suspended for a moment only to be pushed back into his chair by her. It could have been really exciting to see what happened if these loaded moments were pushed further. Although it would have been fascinating to see more during these slightly unexplored moments they certainly added to the sense of unease and miscommunication that ran through the piece.

Around the space samples of Sue Williams’ art work were also on display. Many featured nudes provocatively posed or over made-up women with eye catching slogans. Every piece screamed urgency, exploring the ideas around feminine identity and the constant search for perfection. The drawings, just like the piece as a whole, were thought provoking and somewhat disturbing. Although the art work only explored the feminine the performance itself perfectly captured the fragility and desires of both sexes.

An example of Sue's work from www.nomorepink.com

Blending sexual tension with an unvoiced battle for authority Shh! is a compelling and intelligent piece. Not wanting to look away, yet barely able to watch the audience became helpless participants in the battle of the sexes and certainly left re-evaluating their own views on feminine and masculine ideals. Exploring strength, sexuality and social interaction Shh! is a compelling and challenging piece that viscerally excites and intellectually stimulates.

 

For more on Sue Williams and her dynamic artwork please visit: www.nomorepink.com

For more reviews: www.hypercriticreviews.blogspot.com

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