Power to entertain and excite: 2Faced Dance in EVERYTHING [but the girl]

The Place, London
March 14, 2020

Maggie Foyer

2Faced Dance Company ticks all the right boxes: high energy, total commitment and concepts of concern for these turbulent times. Everything [but the girl], is a varied bill, by female choreographers and male performers with the welcome addition of live music for two of the three works.

The Qualies links sport to dance. Light-hearted sports chat with important underlying concepts is the backstory as Louis Parker-Evans effectively voices David Forster Wallace’s essay on the gruelling prequels to the big tennis tournaments. Choreographer Fleur Darkin, former director of Scottish Dance Theatre, parallels dance and tennis, charting the strain, the devotion to training, the success and the failure.

Four dancers, Parker-Evans, John Robinson, Will Hodson and Cameron Woolnough give convincing performances with adroit moves and neat ball skills. The dance – we had to wait a while for this – was varied. Duets of tough one-upmanship and edgy sizing-up contrasted with solos of lyrical self-reflection by a multi-skilled cast in a work that was both thought provoking and entertaining.

2Faced Dance in 7.0 by Tamsin Fitzgerald. Photo Benjamin Statham
2Faced Dance in 7.0 by Tamsin Fitzgerald
Photo Benjamin Statham

Director Tamsin Fitzgerald’s Hollow in a World too Full, inspired by a dystopian quote from the film The Network, 1976, spotlights an uncertain, overfilled world. In the current even more uncertain world, Sam Buswell attacks the high velocity solo with gut-wrenching passion. It’s a well-structured work where the dynamics rise and fall, as banks of lights shift focus to reveal or conceal the onstage musicians. The dance is a trial of stamina and endurance, one man against the world and Buswell triumphs.

7.0 is choreography by Fitzgerald and her dancers after a visit to Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake of 2011. With a powerful new score by Alex Baranowski, this reduxed version also finds relevance in the contemporary world.

It opens as Parker-Evans, brushes the dust from his arms. The dust of the quake and the dust of eternity both find their symbolic home in a work redolent with atmospheric sounds, positions and lights. The duets are death-defying, as the men throw, lift and catch with agility and speed. The solos give opportunities to individuals and when they work together as an ensemble, the power is awesome. It was a performance that both entertained and excited: great dance tackling important issues.