It Folds Review ****

9 September 2015


Chris McCormack


Trust in the process. It takes nerve for dance troupe junk ensemble and political avant gardes Brokentalkers to place confidence in a cast of strangers to generate material for their new co-production. When an idea on paper is thrown to the wind, it doesn't tear; it folds.

Poignant vignettes of modern life are given intimate yet violent shapes in Jessica and Megan Kennedy's choreography, dressed up in Feidlim Cannon and Gary Keegan's absurdist visuals. The opening monologue by a straight-talking ghost (Robert McDermott) tells the story of an altar boy's fall from grace, setting up a fallout of ideals in post-Catholic Ireland.

The bare stage adorned only by a floating horse piñata seems to await a child's birthday party. Instead, it becomes a gripping scene for generational conflict as young dancer Ben Sullivan is made malleable, literally flattened by his brawny partner Colin Condon. In the sensitive duet, there are glimpses of the older figure's desperation for control but also dependency.

These images are juxtaposed against other masculinities: a business suit-wearing mannequin; a grossly-spectacled old man in the uncertain care of a granddaughter with a vivid recollection of her destroyed toy horse. Funnily, even the animal is on a journey of self-discovery, moodily played in an excellent double act by John Doran and Sarah Kinlen.

The action becomes dark, alluding to child abduction and abuse as a tatter-winged angel (Dagmara Jerzak) drags a young man's body through dirt. When a series of macabre images are not sung over in the elegiac lyrics of Denis Clohessy's soft music, they are howled over in the strange utterances of a different theatrical idiom.

While perturbingly powerful, this beguiling production is stirringly beautiful. From broken symbols of innocent youth it amounts to the tragicomic succession of life, in all its creases.