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BWW Review: REVERSE at Moscow Musical Theatre

BWW Review: REVERSE at Moscow Musical Theatre
Photo credit: Vladimir Mayorov

A young woman tries to open a door in the first scene of Reverse, product of choreographer Debra Brown and directors Andrey Koltsov and Irina Drozhzhina, which premieres this month at the Moscow Musical Theatre. She bangs on the door, kicks it, stands on her hands and rhythmically smacks it with her feet. She does a sort of sunken backwards crabwalk down the stairs, then up again, and back to the door. A young woman struggles to open a door, but she doesn't really try the handle.

Billed as a musical, Reverse felt to me much more like a dance show: there is no text, spoken or sung, and no named characters, and the setting and action are more suggestive than representative. There is a trampoline. Also ten or so doors, a few staircases, one rope ladder, one hula-hoop, and some performers.

They are intensely compelling, these performers, obviously talented and much practiced. Watching them is like attending the final round of the Westminster Human Show - only the very best tricks. There are fast tricks and slow tricks, tricks on the trampoline and on the stairs. And although I waited for the tricks to evolve into something more, something resembling tension, or conflict, or emotion, after 70 minutes of tricks the show was over.

It may be the case that I, a fat lump, am jealous of the tremendous physicality of these performers, and have dismissed these talented arms and legs for disingenuous reasons. Or it could be that I suffer in ignorance of the anatomical cleverness needed to slink up and down a rope staircase - misunderstanding may be the root cause of my overall lack of enthusiasm. I don't doubt that another kind of viewer, less interested in theatre and more in moving figures, may enjoy Reverse very much. Either way, while the bodies on stage tumbled, leaped, and slunk, I sat with my arms folded.


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