Ultima Vez: What The Body Does Not Remember at the The Lowry

Ultima Vez
Ultima Vez
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This is a 90-minute lesson in body language from an internationally-famous company who have a lot to say for themselves, but never utter a word.

They resurrected 1987 piece, What The Body Does Not Remember, for this tour, and as well as remaining a fresh and startling piece of entertainment it also underlines their influence on modern choreography. The piece delights in being hard to categorise.

Is it physical theatre? Well, yes, when it creates a series of what could be poses for a family photographs, which gradually grow out of one character’s desperation to fit in, or even just sit comfortably on a chair. It creates heart-touching moments of the yearning to be loved, or at least accepted.

Is it circus? How else to describe performers running wild, hurling cement breeze blocks to one another across the stage, constantly defying expectations as to just who might catch them. This is danger dodged with athletic grace.

Is it music hall? High-speed ‘pickpocketing’ of each other, or bath towels, certainly has something of a highly-amusing vaudeville routine about it.

Is it darkly erotic? Without a doubt, as couples disturbingly explore the body politics of each other’s outstretched frames.

It’s certainly all performed within the disciplines of dance, from the opening Flamenco-styled percussion, drummed out on a tabletop, to the tribal stomping climax.

Ultima Vez choreographer Wim Vandekeybus, who dropped out of psychology, has put his mind to pursuing pure movement as a form of theatre.

And what is beyond doubt is that What The Body Does Not Remember is something you will not easily forget.

There is one last chance to catch it all at Blackpool Grand Theatre this Friday.

David Upton