The post-show Q & A was a genial affair that saw Fleur Darkin clearly relaxed and enthusiastic about her new role as SDT's artistic director.
The double-bill itself, however, was a last hoorah! from her predecessor, Janet Smith, who invited back Canadian-based Victor Quijada – his Second Coming marked the exact tenth anniversary of his previous SDT premiere – and persuaded the busily prolific Jo Stromgren to come to Dundee and make Winter, Again.
Quijada's Second Coming typically asked a lot of the company, and audience. Its form is provocatively fragmented: a complex, shifting mix of dance styles. Hip hop spins into classic arabesques, while contemporary elements intervene to create striking juxtapositions that suggest inner states, interactive relationships and undercurrents of self-scrutiny, of making choices, and maybe doubting those choices. Bodies frequently bend and waver, as if pulled by conflicting forces even as they try for a moment of equilibrium. Risk drives this piece, but Quijada's use of humour, his aptitude for mischief, his dynamic compound style, really grab our attention and applause.
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Norwegian Stromgren also teases, with exquisite songs (from Schubert's Die Winterreise) underpinning a savage, seething scenario of lust – for killing animals, for pole position, for primal mating – where the off-white tones of set and costume suggest the winter snow is actually besmirched with the guilt of secret sin. There are hints of Ibsen's Wild Duck in the characters and their actions, but a voiced-over text speaks to our own times, our willingness to believe that mankind's predation can be "snowed over", buried in a permafrost of deception. Dramatic, grotesque, bleakly comic and, like Second Coming, delivered with theatrical and technical prowess by company newcomers and old hands alike. Touring Scotland from March until May.