Saturday, May 12, 2007


Title:Mysteries Of Love
Artist: Erna Ómarsdóttir/ Jóhann Jóhannson
Venue:The Tramway, Glasgow, Friday 11th May 2007

Mysteries of Love is the second in the series of dance pieces on at the Tramway in May. This time from the Icelandic Dance company, who did last year's We are all Marlene Dietrich FOR. With choreography by Erna Ómarsdóttir and music composed by Jóhann Jóhannsson, Mysteries of Love is a stripped down piece for two performers. Though for all that, it matches last weekend's VSPRS at times for sheer ferocity and mania. The stage is a vast open space, at the back there are a couple of instruments set up, on one a piano, on the other a keyboard. The piece starts with a pianist playing a nice piece on the piano, with two women dressed as little girls, long pink dresses, holding hands and singing nursery rhymes.

Then the lights go out, and things start to get twisted. The blonde lies in front of the piano, unmoving, the brunette laughs, cries, grunts - howling. Before the throws herself a round the stage, at one point her hips convulse as though she is giving birth to the devil - her head rolling around, grinning, laughing screaming, her eyes stare, her tongue emerges. So it goes.

By turns sweet, and innocent, by turns horrific and a little frightening. The girls run round the stage, hands clasped, singing, taking turns to look at the audience - smiling in a knowing fashion. They grasp at each other with awkward passion, arms wrapping round each other, though hands won't close and there is a brain damaged awkwardness to the motion that goes further than childish imitation.

A sign warns that the piece will include strobe lights. The pianist returns to the stage, this time playing the keyboard, layered rock sounds coming out. The blonde sings the original nursery rhyme in a club rock fashion, the brunette dancing, though being shoved to the ground any time she gets too close. Strobe lights lash out at the audience, with an intensity that is blinding. More laughing, screaming, rolling around the floor like the dead girls from The Ring or The Grudge. Before culminating in a blistering rock number, 2 guitarists coming out on stage - the brunette howls about beauty, about being sexy, grinding death metal vocals, the blonde doing cartwheels while holding a knife in each hand. The brunette's lipstick smeared across her face, her teeth, the blonde stabbing herself in the head while twitching like a broken toy.

By turns endearing and horrifying, with a certain amount of humour as things attain ever increasing levels of ridiculousness.

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