It’s been over a year since I last wrote a dance review, even longer since I myself was on stage, and while I detest writing in the first person, as both a performance artist and critic, I could think of a non-more deserving show to bring myself out of an ‘early retirement’.
I was first introduced to the work of Rawcus during the course of 2017, when the company presented Song For A Weary Throat at Theatre Works in St Kilda. And while it might have been a long time between then and now, in this newfound world Rawcus in the company’s latest work continue to inspire.
The choreography in Glass, the work of Glasgow-based choreographer Marc Brew, is most successful when it pulls the ensemble together, successfully playing with lines and a repetitious structure, none more so than in opening scenes.
One of the most brilliant things about Rawcus is the way the company works with each of the ensemble members so as to give them each their own solos and moments to shine. Seeing an ensemble cast representing all abilities is something oft missing in the world of dance, where companies more often strive for a kind of fake perfection and excellence, Glass is nothing if not honest.
Later scenes where performers are wrapped in suffocating plastic adds an element of risk to the work as a whole. In borrowing from more classical dance, in particular balletic form- Glass also seems to, in a way poke it’s tongue at the kind of perfection of which other companies strive for.
This is not to say that Glass is imperfect, far from, its simply that perfection takes many different forms, and this is as far removed from the cookie cutter as you might possibly get. The use of glass boxes seems to extend upon the individual expression, speaking directly of being forced into boxes by society, it’s not new ground per say, but I guess everything seems fresh and new in this newfound world.
On that note, when we also take into consideration the extreme set of circumstance of which Glass was created within, it adds yet another layer of the impossible to an already defying work.
The soundscape, created by Jethro Woodward is reminiscent of broken glass, all fractured and folding sounds, balanced with the stark white lighting- the work of Richard Vabre and the ever-present smoke effects, aurally and aesthetically, Glass is a pleasing and very much dystopian vision.
I also strongly believe a short show is a good show, and Glass in all of its 45 minutes packs a might punchy, and shows that despite the pandemic, Rawcus have not lost its deft touch, and its ability to engage with audiences in thought provoking and deeply personal ways.