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Political Mother, Brighton Dome Concert Hall, May 20
There is no doubt that Hofesh Shechters’ latest work Political Mother, commissioned and premiered by Brighton Festival, will be a major piece on the international dance circuit.
It is an absolute powerhouse of a performance. The first 15 minutes are an onslaught on the senses, fired with the passion of an almost adolescent attraction to noise and scale, with a battalion of drummers and electric guitars driving through Shechters’ exhilarating original score.
All this supported by exquisite production values which fully exploit what must have been an impressive budget. It refines the raw adrenaline hit to something more palatable to this older, more dance-savvy audience.
The overall effect is an event of incredible proportions.
But once the initial hit of rock guitar, beautifully staged percussion and spectacular geometric lighting (stunningly designed by Lee Curran) starts to fade, the show’s lack of depth is exposed.
While the show feels like it’s about political struggle – revealed by rather trite visual motifs – it’s only political in a really generic sense. The lack of emotional levels and invitations for empathy make for a superficial experience, where the skills and individuality of the dancers have been sacrificed to the aesthetics of the whole.
Luckily, though, just at the point where it could all be taken far too seriously, Shechters’ humour that saves the day with a visual gag that implodes all meaning and simultaneously illuminates the movement.