Friday, 26 June 2020

DANCE THEATRE REVIEW: LOL (Lots Of Love) - The Place, London.


This 70-minute non-stop dance-theatre piece by Protein Dance Company is an ironic love song to the strange and sometimes scary world of computers and online friendship, chat, dating and romance.  The stage is bare except for three screens at the rear upon which are shown the videos of real people, recruited especially for this show, watching and chatting online.

The show itself is a continual bombarding of vignette after vignette - some related others not so - of young men and women negotiating the technology and etiquette, whilst manipulating the system too. The speech is almost verbatim messenger chat complete with emojis and other online signs and acronyms, whilst the choreography and original music both mirror these feelings and messages perfectly. The movement becomes the keyboard or the speech-pattern of the technology. There is much humour to be found in this piece, and although on the surface it might seem that the work is about the negative side of technological friendship-finding, the energy and impact of the piece taken as whole is much more of a young persons' evocation to and almost deifiction of computer technology.

In a world where the reliance on such technology is not only taken for granted, but is a very large part of most people's daily lives, it is a very clever and direct look at the way we interact with that technology and how our personalities and our raison d'etre has changed because of it. Our language and vocabulary has changed, our interaction with others has changed, and it also highlights the marked difference between who we are online and who we are in reality; offering some insight as to why many people might want to stay in the online world without ever revealing their real selves.

It might be a little bleak and dark at times, but mostly it is fun and joyous, and a celebration of the fact that we have the ability to use such things to our advantage. Just don't get caught up and overwhelmed by it.

Conceived and choreographed by Luca Silvestrini, with additional direction by Don Boyd and Jonathan Bloom, original and pertinent music by Andy Pink, and performed by 6 very multi-talented troupers, it was an illuminating, interesting and highly enjoyable show put together with talent and skill.

Reviewer - Matthew Dougall
on - 25/6/20

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