Sadler’s Wells Theatre
Reviewed – 15th March 2019
“an uneven and ultimately disappointing piece of work”
The idea behind The Thread is a beautiful one. The programme says; ‘The Thread is essentially the fundamental human values that we all share, no matter our religion, our ethnicity or beliefs. It is a notion that is both personal, timely and relatable, and at the same time universal and timeless. In a few words, the Thread is the energy that connects us to the universe.’
Unfortunately, this beautiful idea is not brought to life in performance. The beginning is promising, as dancers snake in sinuous chains, weaving threads of connection. Then they fragment into smaller groups, navigating a stage lit in geometric blocks. There are lovely, slow moving tableaux of Minoan women, a few sections of faster moving contemporary that never really find their energy and a rather bizarre set piece where dancers wear what appear to be cow bells around their waists. I found myself wanting some wild action to inject some zest into the proceedings.
At one point the music roars and swoops as the male dancers perform the sort of Greek dancing where men have their arms around each other’s shoulders and slap their legs and feet. It was reminiscent of being in a taverna in the Plaka in a thunderstorm, and the waiters deciding to have a knees up. But not as much fun without a view of the Acropolis and a glass of ouzo. It is the type of dancing that can be powerful and gripping when you are close to it, feeling the excitement in a party or a restaurant. But it is hopelessly lost on the large Sadler’s Wells stage. It recurred several times. The end of the piece was when it became interesting and had a bit of oompf. But it was all a bit late by then.
Vangelis’ music is atmospheric and compelling. Michael Hulls’ lighting is simple and effective. Mary Katrantzou’s costumes are evocative of ancient Greek art, or elegantly functional. But Russell Maliphant’s choreography fails to convey the beautiful idea of The Thread. The mixing of traditional Greek dancing, which has grown out of communities as part of celebrations and social cohesion, with contemporary styles doesn’t work well, resulting in an uneven and ultimately disappointing piece of work.
Reviewed by Katre
Photography by Yannis Bournias
Sadler’s Wells Theatre until 17th March
Previously reviewed at this venue: