Freedooom!!! Shouts Mel Gibson in Braveheart and although the concept could suggest this new production by revered Jasmin Vardimon Company is cliché it really is not.
Vardimon tells us the inspiration for Freedom is interest in how freedom is always moments away from its polar opposite, imprisonment, and that we only know how to be free really when we’ve experienced the bad.
The six strong dance troupe illustrate this through entrancing tableaux. A sweet giggly Japanese doll like dancer giggles onto the stage. “I am would like to tell a story about…” but she cannot finish the sentence and her inexpression descends into scary robotic compulsions.
Staging suggests at times, flowing deep-sea fronds and a magical twinkly light underworld, at others the ugly signs of industry, driving dancers mad as they scream and tumble on stage. Standout moments of this fast-paced, high energy production are many but for us there is one sublime one that caps all. This was the ballerina, trying to fly on the industrial tubing she at first believes are wings. To the sound of “somewhere over the rainbow,” her exuberance descends into frustration. “Why can’t I” went the refrain and the roof of Sadler’s resounded with heartfelt applause.
There are many more though: a sado masochistic mermaid, a geisha girl, a dancer whose hands recreate the lyrical poetry of seaweed in movement and a surfer who uses his girlfriend as his board.
Set to an invigorating sound score, with Led Zeppelin, John Lennon, ambient electronica, kitsch and nature sounds racketing the pace along, it’s worth battling down the doors of the venue to nab a ticket for tonight’s last night at Sadlers.
Freedom by the Jasmin Vardimon Company is at Sadlers Wells on 13 November at 7.30pm.