Absolutely loved this. A piece of dance that is unconventional and conceptual in nature, Nicola Elliott asks that Fragile be experienced rather than seen as a statement or narrative. So no attempt to analyse or unpack (or even understand the show at all in places) — dance is not to be felt in the head, but rather in the chest, a series of images in motion pared down but enveloping.
Elliott uses dance to explore, celebrate and play with the intrinsic quality of objects. But not ‘things’; rather textural materials. A large sheet of white paper is transformed by the dancer into a human sausage roll, a scrunched-up mess and eventually a ball gown. Exercise mats become houses, more hilarious human sausage rolls and Lucy Kruger puts skin on skin with these thudding and interestingly fleshy objects.
The dance of the sticks lingers. So remarkable in its simplicity and danger, the dancer methodically pulls to pieces a large, dry branch with her body, filling the auditorium with cringe-inducing, echoey cracks. Without seeming to do much, Elliott explores something threatening and brittle to the core. Then daunting, even dangerous nature of the task of breaking down the object by the diminutive dancer was heartbreaking. One wonders what this represents to Elliott personally.
The series of movements were accompanied by the voices of the cast, a squash box, the klickity-clack of knitting needles, classical concerto’s and silence. Aside from Elliott’s conceptual choices which lean towards performance art, it is essentially dance, and in which field Fragile definitely delivers.
The choreography is graceful then wacky, performed with wonderful commitment from the cast. I implore any theatre-goers who enjoy creative, original and poignant dance/performance art or anyone willing to experiences a non-conventional and completely honest expression, to go and book your tickets now! — Kei-Ella Loewe