views from the gods

saints and sinners of the stage and screen

It Goes Here Now
The Blue Elephant Theatre
1st May 2014


Production shot of It Goes Here Now

Photography © Amy Mathieson

Following on from the success of The Rite of Spring/Romeo & Juliet, it's clear that Camberwell's favourite elephant is in a decidedly experimental mood. The latest show to pass through The Blue Elephant is touring production It Goes Here Now, a piece of contemporary dance which sets out to explore what it means to be human, in the context of controversial scientific breakthroughs like genetic modification, cloning and selection procedures. So, nothing too complicated then.

It's a question which has endured through the ages, and which has only become harder to answer in recent years. Is it enough to be merely born this way, or is it your actions which define you? As we leap forward in science and technology, basic existential issues become more challenging when your DNA can be copied and/or altered. A definitive answer is getting further and further out of reach.

You can tell that in pondering these thorny issues, Tempered Body Dance Theatre have really done their research - rarely do you come across a programme which credits a geneticist (here, Dr Helen Middleton-Jones) or an ethicist (Michael Parker). However, it's unsurprising that the company have gone to such lengths; when you observe the movements created by choreographer Maddy Wynne-Jones, it becomes apparent that she's content to spend time on the finer details. She frequently starts with slow, small, repetitive movements, never rushing any of her ideas. At times this feels a little drawn out, but her final sequence is staggeringly powerful, vindicating her "slow and steady wins the race" technique.

The sound design from Adam Janota-Bzwoski is perfectly judged, with his work creating a chicken-and-egg situation. Often it's clear whether a piece of dance has been inspired by music, or the music has inspired the choreography, but here there's more of a true collaboration. Janota-Bzowski's compositions are ethereal and modern, and always complement the dancers rather than compete with them.

As for the performers themselves - Maddy Morgan, Orris Gordon and Julie Haveland - they dance together, in pairs, alone. Through the variety of sequences they are all given a chance to shine. Although there are some larger, more energetic steps, a lot of what they deliver is small and precise action, involving a fiercely intense focus and control.

Although It Goes Here Now has been crafted with a great deal of love and care, it's arguably not the most accessible piece. It's a multimedia show with dance, music and video projection, but its significance is not always obvious, despite all the tools available. And in the short gaps between dances, the performers could be more graceful, bearing in mind there is no blackout to cover them.

Given the big concepts explored in this piece, Tempered Body Dance Theatre can be forgiven for sometimes being a little vague. Its Goes Here Now is a deeply intriguing hour, and keeps an important discussion going.

It Goes Here Now opened on 1st May and runs until 2nd May 2014 at the Blue Elephant Theatre.

Nearest tube station: Oval (Northern)

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