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This Castle

I was not sure what to expect from Moonhorse Dance Theatre's production of This Castle, written and directed by Patti Powell and choreographed by Claudia Moore short of the fact that it was to be a melding of dance and the works of Shakespeare. In fact, I must concede that I don't have the greatest knowledge of Shakespeare, short of my high school reading - don't ask me to reference a quote interpreted via modern dance. So I entered The Theatre Centre with some trepidation.

There was no need to fear.

Claudia Moore's choreography is delightfully complex.

I have seen modern dance where the movements get trite within minutes, that "oh God here comes that lunge with the splayed hands again" phenomenon. Not here, as movements did not seem random or purposeless. As to the direction of this production, there was a thorough use of space: not a wall, prop, or angle went unused. Five stars for that.

I could only see two weaknesses. One was the Puppet Theatre. I liked it as it made a nice counterpoint to the dance but I thought that the scale was a bit off. Perhaps they should have used a trunk rather than a suitcase, accompanied by hand rather than finger puppets?

The other was the Seer. I liked Lin Snellings performances as she has a gift for using her body to show anquished expression but I just did not get her presence there. If this was a performance using ancient Greek writings then the presence of this character would have made more sense to me.

But I was truely impressed by a variety of things. There was the interdisciplary nature of the work: film, sound, acting, as well as the dance. Here dance and movement acts as text: sometimes literally, with the use of Sign English. Text acts as movement taking the audience from one scene to another.

All the dancers were technically top notch. My former neighbour, dancer Miko Sobreira, embodied the romantic but tortured hero and his duet with Jennifer Dick was particularly compeling. The Night Porter, played by William Webster, was brilliant as always -- Shakespeare from Bill's mouth is always a decadent experience, without being pretentious. And the three witches as chorus watching television was hilarious.

Perchance to Dream? Most definitely.

This Castle runs to November 6, 2005 at The Theatre Centre, 1087 Queen Street West.
Performances & Prices: Wed - Sat at 8pm $25 (seniors, students, CADA $20),
Preview and Sun at 2:30pm: Pay-What-You-Can
Tickets: Arts Box Office: 416-504-7529

[image provided by Moonhorse Dance Theatre]


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