BWW Reviews: Clairobscur's BULLY Dominates at Diavolo Performance Space, 1/27

Second on the program was Out of Life, a triptych of solos exploring terminal illness and death. The first and last were expansive, with balletic flourishes. Jacqueline Hinton and Allynne Noelle each brought deep focus to the physical expression of loss and acceptance, with gestures to the heart, at once giving and guarded. In between the two sections, Damien Diaz explored the anguish of mental disintegration, punctuating his frenzy with two-fingered vein taps to the inner arm, a nervous tic that evoked a desperate but doomed attempt at relief.

Following Bully and closing the program was Crawl Xipe Totec II, a strenuous duet featuring Jacqueline Hinton and Alyson Mattoon. Dressed in bright-green unitards, stretching and gripping low to the floor, the dancers were impressive in their physicality but the net effect unfortunately evoked a rain forest milieu. As described in the press materials (there were no program notes) the piece was a meant as correlative of primal violence, which is why it was chosen to follow Bully. But the link was tenuous. While the previous dances were human and social in their questions, this final piece, while admirable for its choreography and execution, was an incongruous closer.

Jen Goldstein's lighting for the full program was valid and restrained. Costumes by Ruth Fentroy and Laurie Sefton smartly supported the action. (Their colorful briefs and tees provided deft misdirection at the start of Bully.) Of special note was the original music for the title piece. Mark Hadley, a Los Angeles-based composer, set a tone of anxiety and violence with his guitar-dominated operatic grunge. It was a fitting soundtrack to an ugly and all-too familiar story.

Photo Credit: Denise Leitner

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Craig Fleming Craig Fleming is an actor, director, writer, and teacher. Since 2006 he has been

Assistant Professor of Theatre Studies at California State University, Long Beach. In the early nineties he was a Disney Imagineer, living in Paris, in charge of the writing

effort for the concept and creation of Euro Disney (now Disneyland Paris). After gaining

some clarity and perspective, he resigned from Disney and returned to his first loves,

Theatre and Education. He is also a devoted husband and father, which by definition,

makes him feel more alive than he thought possible.