Choreographer Hofesh Schechter is a former Brighton Festival guest director and he has stormed back with a deeply disturbing but relevant dance programme.
Double Murder opens with a wonderfully funny and energetic little number to Offenbach’s Can Can, but the mood soon darkens to his company’s first full-length offering Clowns. To a soundscape also created by Schechter whose rhythmic drum heartbeats get more loud and insistent, we are treated to ever-changing tableaux of chaos and violent murder – well executions actually.
Schechter is the puppet-master, controlling the slaughter but also being a recurrent victim of it. The meaning is clearly that the more we are exposed to violence and death in society the more we become used to it – emphasised by the jolly jigging steps of the executioners.
It’s visually stunning and deeply disturbing. The absolutely brilliant lighting programme gives us split-second snapshots of the action, matched by the 10 dancers’ ability to get into new scenarios almost instantly. Schechter’s signature movements – loping bent over ape like motions and reptilian writhings are truly shocking but scarily entertaining.
The second offering The Fix is altogether more meditative and calming. A highly distressed individual is calmed and comforted and eventually put into a front row stalls seat. This is followed by this piece’s 7 dancers going out into the auditorium, warmly hugging the audience and making a post-Covid point of our new normal.
It’s a truly imaginative, emotional and ultimately uplifting evening.
Check out Schechter company shows at Hofesh.co.uk and other Festival shows at Brightonfestival.org