PARK @ Sadler’s Wells Review

What do you think of when you picture your local park? Scenic routes? Picturesque landscapes with ever winding footpaths and well looked after flowerbeds? Or do you visualise construction works? A place abandoned by the local council with nothing more than a broken swing and a park bench? Living life in the city can be fast paced, chaotic and lively, but in amongst all of the chaos you’re guaranteed to wonder past a park, a place guaranteed to contain characters from all walks of life, each with their own story to tell.

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This is an idea that Sadler’s Wells associate Jasmin Vardimon grasped onto 10 years ago, with her choreographic work, PARK. At the crux of the piece is an ‘archetypal’ park setting with an array of quirky and individual characters, each with their own paths to follow, each with their own stories to tell. An environment we usually take for granted or simply walk past, the park takes centre stage, as it is placed under the microscope to reveal a patchwork of themes.

Ideas such as big faceless corporations versus the working classes drive the narrative of the production as Luke Burrough‘s ruthless and ambitious portrayal of a property developer and Aoi Nakamura‘s portrayal of the obedient accomplice satirises the corporate mindset of making profit and rebuilding infrastructures rather than considering the lives of the communities in which they are rebuilding on. Uroš Petronijevic‘s angst fuelled portrayal of an anti social thug exudes dynamism, his hip hop infused choreography serves as his motif, a warning sign to the other characters around him that he is not to be messed with. His partnership with Maria Doulgeri‘s feisty and independent character highlights the theme of relationships, whether that be friendship or a romance. Moments of synchronicity as the partners in crime tumble over set pieces and throw one another around the set amaze as their fearlessness has no bounds.

Silke Muys steals the show as the unassuming busker. A character trying to make ends meet as she is repetitively ignored, she becomes nothing more than a background prop. However, she comically livens up the stage as she supplies the soundtrack for many of the scenes happening around her. She then takes centre stage, siren-esque in her demeanour as she seduces the anti social thug, transforming his tough persona into an obedient and excitable one. Jasmin Vardimon’s choreography morphs into animalistic phrases, as characters transform into dogs and mermaids, adding a mythical element to the production. The ensemble impress the most with routines that mirror one another or are performed effortlessly in unison, however as the characters are not as 3 dimensional as they could be, and as there are many characters, each exploring different themes, it becomes difficult to follow the plot. 3/5

Review written by Lucy Basaba.

PARK was on at Sadler’s Wells from Monday 10th-Tuesday 11th November. For more information on future Sadler’s Wells Productions, visit here…

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