Dance Review: The Electric Hotel @ Gas Holder No. 8

An outdoor theatre spectacle has ‘popped up’ in a development site behind Kings Cross. Bold in its ambition and technically compelling, The Electric Hotel uses choreography and sound to give its audience a voyeuristic glimpse into the inhabitants of a seemingly once glitzy yet now rundown hotel. Commissioned by Sadler’s Wells and Without Walls and created by Shunt’s mastermind David Rosenberg for one hour, nothing is at it seems…

Meandering our way round the back of Kings Cross leads us to believe we are about to be seriously manhandled or embark on a covert, alternative space London has become famed for offering. Luckily our hunches were right: directly behind St Pancras Station we stumble upon an old ironwork Gas Holder with a free-standing four-storey structure hovering in its shadows. Upon entering the site, we’re given earphones and ushered to seats.

All goes quiet, except faint sounds of water and laughter drifting from the headsets. The shades on the floor-to-ceiling windows begin to rise, and the neon sign resting on the rooftop lights up – ‘The Electric Hotel’ is now open. We can see a lively penthouse bar that opens to an outdoor pool where revellers mix and mingle. One by one scenes play out in the hotel rooms below: from a beautiful swimmer and her boyfriend to a lonely single woman and a manic young man, the guests all share different desires that we are required to decipher. Connecting the guests is the neurotic hotel maid, a despatch rider carrying a mysterious glowing box and a loud scream that jolts everyone in their tracks. Their isolated lives are now shared by one common thread – what is going on in the hotel?

Through solo and synchronised dance sequences and a sound mix reminiscent of a surveillance track the audience is given an unusual peak into a day in the life of an eccentric hotel. True to other Shunt productions, the set and overall experience is worth catching before the show leaves London for other neighboring cities. However the execution of both the plot and choreography is at times clunky, leaving the audience detached and often wanting more.

The Electric Hotel‘ is located on Goods Way and runs until 19 June Monday to Saturday at 9.45pm. Tickets £15 with a limited number available from the on site ticket office from 8.15pm .

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