The Brides (Performer), London International Mime Festival and Rinovatti Theatre, Siena, 2023. David Glass Ensemble and Topi Dalmata.
"In the opening scene, a sinister mother figure shrouded in black (the Death Bride) activates seven ‘cocoons’ – plastic body bags cum costume bags lying on the ground. Each gives up its contents and here we are – seven young women together with seven bridal dresses, tugged on gleefully or reluctantly or with curiosity. Already we see before us seven strong personalities – no blank slates, no homogenous bodies. Each presents herself to us in all her individual glory, now dressed in her bridal finery, this then disrupted in the most marvellous way. The Brides is billed as a riotous celebration of female misbehaviour, and it delivers. Our ensemble of grrrrls gurn and tweak and stomp and howl and bite and twist and shout to a fabulous soundtrack that ricochets from ‘Love Hurts’ to ‘Real Nitty Gritty’; taking in Elvis Presley’s ‘Crying’, Nancy Sinatra’s ‘Boots’ and Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ along the way. There’s a truly wonderful piss-take – sorry, homage to – Bausch’s choreography to Stravinsky’s ‘Rite of Spring’, all demonic shaking and hair tossing.
But there are gentle moments and dark moments, too, as we move through a cycle of birth, death and resurrection. The relationship between the Death Bride and the Brides sometimes evoke The House of Bernarda Alba. The Velvets’ ‘I’ll Be Your Mirror’ is a recurring motif, delivered by the women standing on chairs or sitting on the floor, gently singing the song whilst wearing blood-red blindfolds across their eyes. This is good, old fashioned (in the best sense of that term) physical theatre: strong but simple staging; inventive lighting; and basic props such as lengths of material, chairs and twigs used to great effect. And of course, it is the strength of the ensemble of eight great performers that wins the day. Bravo, Brides!" Dorothy Max Prior - Total Theatre, 2023
Photos taken by Ambra Vernuccio at Jackson's Lane, January 2023.