Brighton Festival 2012
Smashed is quite simply a masterclass in contemporary dance using juggling in the place of complex physicality and sweating.
As you enter the space the audience is placed in front of nine chairs and a series of apples on the stage. What ensues is a juggling tribute to late great contemporary dance choreographer Pina Bausch. Those who are not familiar with her work are treated to a number of beautiful spectacles and dance pieces, ranging from synchronised juggling, to 5 people all juggling the same balls together to highly polished theatre games, where other performers try to distract the jugglers and see how long it takes them to drop an apple.
However, no description of this piece can really do justice to what was presented on the night. What came across was funny, nostalgic, warming and challenging. Gone were the traditional ideas of "how can they possibly do that", the company treated the audience with a respect that said "we know we can do this, but even we can mess up", and a number of the pieces completely relied on them doing just that.
Beautiful moments were brought into the piece that were a true homage to Pina Bausch’s work, however, these did not in any way ridicule the original, but also did not attempt to replicate the emotional reality that the original creates.
There was a beautiful feeling of risk that echoed throughout the piece but was played with intelligence for both the work itself and its audience. The piece was beautiful, impressive, complex and funny. I feel extremely privileged to have been a spectator at this production.