The Pretty Things – Project Arts Centre – Dublin Dance Festival – Review

The Pretty ThingsProject Arts Centre – Dublin Dance Festival – Review

The Pretty Things by Compagnie Catherine Gaudet – Irish Premiere – Canada

Duration: 55 min (No interval)

The house lights are dimmed as the audience enters the Main Space in the Project. As the piece starts, we are briefly plunged into complete darkness. We then have a shock to the senses, as bright lights fill the stage, to reveal four dancers standing motionless. After a brief spell, one dancer starts to move her arms, a simple repetitive motion that she completes time after time. Slowly, the other dancers come to life with their own simple and repetitive motions. From this tranquil beginning, we are entered into a world of rhythm and constant motion as the dancers spin in time to the music.

This is another international crew of dancers descending on Dublin. This time, it’s a relatively new company in the form of Compagnie Catherine Gaudet, founded in Montreal in 2019 by Catherine Gaudet. The Pretty Things (Les jolies choses) was created in 2022 and is a work for five dancers (although there were four on stage in the Project Arts Centre last night). This is a physically demanding piece, where the dancers move in time with the music and each other, to create something quite special.

The music for this piece is by Antoine Berthiaume, another Montreal native. Antoine is a ‘Guitarist, improviser, composer and producer’ who often works in theatre and dance. The soundtrack of this production is a swirling, euphoric piece, that builds and slowly changes over time, adding and subtracting new instruments and vocal lines. The pace of these changes is so slow that you hardly notice the transformations. It is a heavily layered collection of synth and drones, with wind instruments, guitars, drums and a variety of other sounds making appearances before slowly disappearing.

The athleticism of the performers is dazzling. The audience leaves the theatre exhausted by the experience, so I can only imagine how the dancers feel! After the initial slow sequence, the dancers fall into step and rarely break out of it for the remaining time on stage as they rotate time and time again. The rehearsal time involved for this level of cohesion must be immense and you can see the sweat dripping from the dancers as they fight on to the end. It feels like the dancers are being tormented from above, unable to stop or to resist movement. With only two performances it’s another very short run in the Festival, but with work of this quality, I’m sure Compagnie Catherine Gaudet will return to our shores again. It’s productions like this that make the Dubiln Dance Festival one of the events of the year.


Choreography: Catherine Gaudet
Performers: Dany Desjardins, Lucie Vigneault, Scott McCabe, James Phillips, Lauren Semeschuk
Music: Antoine Berthiaume
Assistant Dramaturg and Rehearsal Director: Sophie Michaud
Lighting Design: Hugo Dalphond
Costume Design: Marilène Bastien
Produced by: Compagnie Catherine Gaudet

Categories: Header, Theatre, Theatre Review

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