The Herald on Flesh

Flesh, Arches, Glasgow

Keith Bruce

The Herald, 7 May 1997

FRANTIC Assembly should not be playing solely to those who believe they are the converted. There were too many knowing chuckles among the oh-so-wise, but none too populous, audience for this challenging and spectacularly well performed piece of dance theatre.

We have said this before – when the piece was first staged at the Assembly Rooms during the Fringe last year – but Flesh is really very good indeed. That praise goes for every element of the production, none of which (and this is a really impressive trick) contrives to detract from the other. Spencer Hazel’s script is sheer poetry. Cait Davis’s soliloquy expanding the cliche of ”lying back and thinking of England” into a myriad other new similes is quite one of the most compelling pieces of wordsmithery I have heard in a long time. The constant reference back to the theatrical existence of the performers is always illuminating rather than precious – not to mention usually hilarious. Christine Devaney’s choreography is just as challenging, and not just for the performers. The gob-smacking physicality of the piece may be the subject of comment of the text, but that does not detract from its impact. Sexy and anti-voyeuristic, it confounds stereotypical notions and includes some sections (like a trousers-round-the-ankles sequence to Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life) that burn themselves into the memory. But in their handling of the tension between these two disciplines, it is to the cast of four (Davis, Korina Biggs, Scott Graham, and Steven Hoggett) that the ultimate plaudits must go. Their commitment and slick professionalism is beyond easy praise. Ally McCoist and Lulu (both namechecked) have never been in better company. Go see.