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  • Chris O'Rourke

Dances Like A Bomb


Finola Cronin and Mikel Murfi in Dances Like A Bomb by Junk Ensemble. Image Luca Truffarelli

*****

Thank God for remounts. For opportunities to catch those shows you missed first time around. Like the sublime Dances Like A Bomb. The inimitable Junk Ensemble, along with performers Finola Cronin and Mikel Murfi, exploring the uphill struggle of the body’s decline. The ageing process with all its joys, aches and ultimate finality. Seeing life lived large through letting go in this gorgeously judged piece of dance theatre.


Less a narrative so much as a series of loose linked vignettes, Denis Clohessy superb score reinforces the separation of sequences into moods and themes. Beginning with two bodies sat onstage, like some dystopian Adam and Eve, discovering each other. Or rather, re-discovering each other. Prodding flaps of unfamiliar flesh, pulling alien pouches of skin. For these are not new, youthful bodies airbrushed and romanticised. Rather Saileóg O'Halloran costumes convey less the seductiveness of a first date so much as the unflattering undergarments you lounge around in when you’re not expecting visitors. A quick change into a suit and dress speaks more to practicality than costuming, though a pair of red high heels and a little gender bending later on help make the sexually covert overt.

Finola Cronin and Mikel Murfi in Dances Like A Bomb by Junk Ensemble. Image Luca Truffarelli


Interspersed between solos and duets, text recited by Murfi and Cronin borders on the Beckettian via examinations of a life lived and meditations on life’s absurdities while waiting to die. Indeed, living proves the real challenge, with a glorious playful sequence revealing death as child’s play, dying a child’s game. Heavy themes humorously handled throughout. But text proves secondary to some sublime movement sequences. Soft, explosive, energised, calm; choreographers Megan and Jessica Kennedy’s fingerprints are everywhere in evidence. Yet Murfi’s exuberant clowning and prat falls, along with Cronin’s formidable talent for taking ordinary gestures and crafting extraordinary patterns are visibly in play. The familiar made magical in some outstanding routines, including a touching trio with an IV drip. A profoundly moving sequence in which Cronin seems to find peace in the betrayal, or delighting, of the body smoking a cigarette.


If the opening duet is defined by distance, the penultimate duet is informed by proximity, as if both bodies have become a single, shared entity. Leading into the final celebration. Murfi and Cronin's energised exuberance looking like the dance equivalent of a Dad joke. A cover your eyes, they’re not my parents, cringe making abandonment which sees both determined to dance like a bomb and defy the ageists. The experience uplifting, joyous, exuberant. Profound in its simplicity, finding beauty in the banal, showing strength in delicacy, Dances Like A Bomb is The Bomb. If remounts allow you catch shows you missed, they also allow you to see great work again. Dances Like A Bomb is nothing short of extraordinary. Don't miss it.


Dances Like A Bomb by Junk Ensemble is currently on tour.


Pavilion, Dun Laoghaire | Wednesday 31st January & Thursday 1st February

Hawk's Well, Sligo | Saturday 3rd February

The Everyman, Cork | Thursday 8th February & Friday 9th February

Backstage Theatre, Longford | Tuesday 13th February

VISUAL, Carlow | Thursday 15th February

Town Hall Theatre, Galway | Monday 19th February

Siamsa Tíre, Tralee | Thursday 7th March

Project Arts Centre Dublin | Thursday 28th March & Friday 29th March


For more information check local venues

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