PIAF REVIEW: TO A SIMPLE ROCK SONG
Over the weekend, the Michael Clark Company transformed His Majesty's Theatre into an unorthodox vessel paying musical homage to some of the greats of our time. To a Simple Rock Song was a resounding success amongst almost all punters in the venue.
Split into three acts, the production was a juxtaposition of technical, ballet-based choreography and experimental elements of punk, pop and Dadaism. The first act was minimal whilst accompanied by raw and dramatic piano by Erik Satie. While I ducked out during this performance, a lady walked out and tried to give me her ticket because she found it boring. Luckily I had my own and persevered with the abrasive piano piece. The difficulties faced in the first act provided a meaningful journey into the second which was my favourite.
Clark's choreography to one of my favourite songs of all time 'Land' by Patti Smith was a tasteful reminder of the impact of art. One art form can be adopted into another both musically and choreographically, which can be satisfying and meaningful on so many levels. Patti Smith was (and still is) the queen of cool. The choreography was hypnotic, much like the musical composition itself, allowing the performers to move seamlessly from classical ballet technique to specific movements derived from the popular song. Dancers wore black leather pants which was an obvious ode to the late, great, Robert Mapplethorpe. The control and artistry of the dancers involved in the routine was sophisticated and hypnotizing. By the end of the second act, I was starting to feel that the first was more or less a rehearsal for what was to follow.
The third act was by far the wildest creation by Clark, set to a medley of David Bowie's tracks. The performance in this section was fearless and eccentric and tied in many of Clark's thought provoking themes. Personally I loved the minimalist approach to costume and set design as it made the audience focus wholeheartedly on the performers. Similarly, the formations and collaborations of the dancers were also appropriately simplistic and their repetition played an integral part in the storytelling of the night.
Now in it's third year of touring, the production is a thought provoking honour of simple rock and roll music. Lasting 85 minutes including interval, you should do yourself a favour and see it too.