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Edinburgh Fringe 2009

The Chair

C12 Dance Theatre

Venue: The Zoo, 140 The Pleasance


Low Down

The Chair is billed as dance/physical theatre, but can most certainly be classed as theatre in its purest sense, because it has such a strong narrative line running through it, and in fact delivers more without words than some productions which have a plethora of them.  To some extent The Chair puts the audience in the driving seat and it seems that people come out with many different perspectives on what the production is truly about, and so in a sense there is no definitive answer, The Chair is what you make of it. Seeing this performing ensemble’s emotions searing through their bodies and flying out through the looks on their faces is absolutely beautiful to watch. C12 is a company to watch not just for dancing but for interesting, emotive and powerful theatre.


Physically demanding displayed only by the sweat glistening on their supple bodies, The Chair explores one man’s struggle with his own wrong doing. Slipping in and out of dream sequences, his girlfriend and mother share in the experience and find it tough to deal with, while a guard tortures him back to reality. Highly charged, not boring for an instant C12 Dance theatre are a company to watch.

The music immediately frames the production by setting us in the 50’s and the music continues in a similar vein throughout the piece to with certain styles and strands of music accompanying characters or sequences that repeat or are linked together. For a show on the Edinburgh Fringe where companies use the spaces back to back and have very quick get out times, this production is presented in a highly professional manner and there are no hiccups with the technical side of things.

The lighting design from Mikkel Svak deserves very high praise. He has perfectly balanced the lighting to fit with characterisation and it exquisitely complements every inch of the production. Possibly the most powerful moment in The Chair comes when the man lowers himself into the chair in the centre of the space. His slow move down is lit by spears of light which shoot out in front of him, making the moment almost ethereal and makes me catch my breath in horror and wonder simultaneously.

Raquell Gaviria plays the girlfriend of the condemned man and is difficult to fault as she glides around the space effectively showering the audience with a wide range of emotions using her body and face to convey fear, pain and absolute joy, clearly showcasing her strong acting skills alongside her dance ability. Kimberley Clarke is exceptionally powerful as the guard in a very physically demanding role. Her physicality and stance gives off a strong level of authority and control and she manages to instil a real sense of fear. Annie-Lunnette Deakin –Foster is warm and loving as the man’s mother (although for a time I thought she might be his wife despite the greying hair, my own fault for not reading the programme). This does however, for me, prove that audiences can take more from C12 Dance Theatre than just a simple linear storyline. There are multiple possibilities which make this piece widely appealing and an exciting and explosive addition to the theatre scene. Finally Nasae Evanson is outstanding, passionate and presents us with a man torn by his emotions, his dreams and the brutalness of reality. He shines as a performer, and as a character and in doing so truly delivers an indelible performance.

C12 offer an innovative bridge for the gap between dance and theatre, and choreographers/directors Adam Towndrow, Annie-Lunnette Deakin Foster and Nasae Evanson are definitely people to keep a close eye on for the future. The Chair is a must see for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2009.



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