The Chosen

Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock

Mary Brennan 

four stars

With a hugely successful stint on the Edinburgh Fringe now ended, the autumn tour of The Chosen is currently under way, allowing audiences across Scotland to see what is a thoughtfully elegiac, life-affirming dance piece. The work now feels like a second skin that all six members of Company Chordelia inhabit not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. All six - three women and three men - have mastered the swift lifting and shifting of the mirror-sided cubes that function, variously, as seat, gravestone, monumental plinth, refuge. And all six now have the kind of familiarity with Kally Lloyd-Jones’s choreography that allows them to invest this meditation on life, death and loss with nuances of their own personality. If Edinburgh was an impressive premiere, this tour sees The Chosen growing in meaningful stature.
The layers of sound and visual imagery cannily underpin episodes of movement that catch at the ebb and flow of our existence. Designer Janis Hart’s mirror cubes are like prisms, refracting shards of light onto the back wall - briefly glinting, disappearing. Thup-thup-thup... a recurring heartbeat, the crashing of waves, Strauss’s Four Last Songs... These too have elements of our transience woven through them, and as the dancers surge across the stage - often with one figure (like the Chosen One in the Rite of Spring) no longer part of the ensemble - there is a clustered urgency that speaks of being actively alive. Two men, intertwined on one cube, cling onto life - but one is slip-sliding away, and the other cannot keep him from crumpling into lifelessness. There has to be a letting go. Such images of finality are offset by golden-glowing moments of camraderie, where upbeat music and smiling connections keep anxieties briefly at bay. Real life can’t be gainsaid, however. So dancers fall to the floor, rise up again, succumb to griefs - and then, thup-thup-thup, breathe deep and move forward... 
tour details at