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Review: Theatre

Untrained

Untrained

A Small Prometheus

Tramway, Glasgow

Mary Brennan

At first, as the four guys go through increasingly demanding moves, Untrained has the air of a goofy compare'n'contrast face-off in which the trained dancers - Alisdair Macindoe and Rennie McDougall - are always going to be one step ahead of the two untrained 'ordinary Joes' who are also on stage.

But being without previous dance experience doesn't mean that Michael Dunbar and Jake Shackleton are devoid of performative nous: Dunbar knows he's on the chubby side, Shackleton is well aware that he has a tendency towards inflexibility and they use this to encourage audience support through moments of underdog-comedy.

On the surface, choreographer/director Lucy Guerin's concept invites us to look at the mechanics of movement, and how remarkable the human body - trained or untrained - is. But as the four men shift into personal confession - anecdotes about fathers, favourite pastimes and so forth - that early whiff of rivalry evaporates into an unspoken, but hugely affecting, degree of male bonding that blossoms, in the final moments, into synchronised disco-grooving where everyone's equal.

The lighting of candles inside kinetic sculptures creates a jingle-jangle soundscore, and it's this spark of cause and effect that underpins A Small Prometheus - and yet, even as the imagery of light in darkness produces exquisite stage pictures, it also restricts the scope of Stephanie Lake's choreography and leads to a repetitiveness that doesn't strike the eye, or the imagination, with the inventive forcefulness or searing intensity of DUAL, shown earlier in this HOT season. This group piece, however, shares the same bravura technique as DUAL - the dancers outshine all else.

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