Void by V/DA and MHZ – Summerhall, Edinburgh
J.G. Ballard’s Concrete Island is a classic critique of the car-dominated city. A driver crashes on a traffic island in West London, and finds himself as marooned as on a desert island. Dancer Mele Broomes has taken on a text that is both white and male, and reclaimed it as a black, female performer. Against a chainlink fence, she tells the story through an intense, physical and confrontational dance piece. She works in collaboration with MHz (Bex Anderson and Dav Bernard). Their digital projections dominated by flickering analogue-style interference, are an alienating and beautiful backdrop that switches from blue seas to glaring yellow sun and off-channel tv. Car lights flash by and tires squeal on a pounding, electronic soundtrack. As it becomes clear that Angela (Broomes’ character) will not be rescued, she stops her frantic attempts to escape (climbing the fence, using her high heels) and looks within herself as her dancing becomes more fluid and confident.
Choreographed, as well as performed, by Broomes, Void is a highly original piece which slams into the audience like a vehicle leaving the motorway at speed. Broomes’ dancing is magnetic, and the show is unforgettable and uncompromising, cleverly bringing a work from a different time careering into the 21st century.