'Thomas and McGlashon's performances were outstanding'
By Florence Pope
As a former dancer and regular audience member, I have always believed that dance has the power to transcend ordinary theatre. Whilst other mediums have the ability to effect audience’s feelings or thoughts, dance possesses a quality of such immersion that the experience remains with people indefinitely. Arguably, more recent dance culture does not always reflect this power and whilst many works are technically, structurally, and creatively astounding, it is rare that audiences feel as if transported to another world. ‘In Light Of Those You Love’ stands opposed to recent trend, allowing audiences to once again fall into the emotional abyss that comes with such immersive work.
I arrived at Caroline Garden’s Chapel, Peckham with a degree of expectation. Having seen Christopher Thomas and Hannah McGlashon’s previous work, as well as having performed extensively with them, I believed that I knew what I would soon be observing. What confronted me was astonishing; the couple, Katherine in a bronze bath, Tom in a faded armchair, were surrounded by flickering candles and, what appeared to be, a complete house. The beauty of the 1950’s style furniture and costumes served as a juxtaposition to the twisted, disturbing storyline that followed. Projections, beautifully filmed by Joe O’Shea, cut through the ugly storyline to provide a welcome respite from the intensity of the sordid relationship. Thomas and McGlashon were extremely clever in using the chapel’s pillars so that features which would have appeared mundane, soon became manic and distorted, much like the minds of Katherine and Tom Heath.
Thomas and McGlashon’s performances were outstanding. Their seamless combination of dialogue, movement and acting allowed us into their private narrative. I have never witnessed a performance where I so believed the story I was told and it is testament to their ability as choreographers and performers that I left feeling that way. Whilst this is only Retrospect Dance Theatre’s first work, ‘In Light Of Those You Love’ portrayed a choreographic maturity that surpasses the company’s infancy and paves the way for exciting works to come. I will certainly be on the front row.