A Play Without Words

A Play Without Words
a kate west review
devised by Matthew Bourne, music by Terry Davies
inspired by Joseph Losey's film, based on "The Servant" by Robin Maugham
A New Adventures / National Theatre Production
at the Ahmanson Theatre, 135 North Grand Ave, Los Angeles 90012
playing April 8 – May 29, 2005; contact 213-628-2772 or www.taperahmanson.com

Matthew Bourne must know how ultra-cool he is. The sophisticated choreographer and creator of the 1995 ground-breaking new version of “Swan Lake” brings his latest work of art to the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles and wows audiences yet again with his signature style and aplomb. “A Play Without Words” is just that – a stylized unfolding of intrigue, without words and with much to decipher. First of all, the music is incredible. Sexy jazz tunes created by Terry Davies, specifically for this performance, prevail throughout, setting the silky suave mood. Musical Directors Michael Haslam and Benjamin Pope keep the pace well. The soundtrack, combined with Bourne’s sure-handed choreography and direction, makes for a truly knock-out production.

Each character is portrayed by three different dancers, so there are always a multitude of people on stage, each one acting out a different nuance of the story. There is no dialogue, the dancers relying solely on music and choreography to tell their story. Based on the classic film by Joseph Losey (from Robin Maugham’s “The Servant”), the story is about a worldly couple, living in 1960’s hip London, bored with life and each other. Two servants live with them, who scheme to bring down their masters a notch or two. The resulting drama is exciting and extraordinarily well-executed.

Dancers include Sam Archer, Ewan Wardrop, Richard Winsor, Michela Meazza, Anjali Mehra, Emily Piercy, Scott Ambler, Steve Kirkham, Eddie Nixon, Maxine Fone, Valentina Formenti and Alan Vincent. It is fascinating to watch the different areas of the stage where different parts of the story play out. Matthew Bourne is terrific at expressing dimension in dance and emotion and both are always crystal clear. Already well-known for such brilliant modern productions as “Swan Lake”, “Cinderella” and “Nutcracker”, his current production of “A Play Without Words” is no exception to his prolific roster of gems.

A pure delight, this production is definitely a must see. Witty, sexy, groovy and fun, its intensity steams up the stage, riveting the audience, so much that you can hear a pin drop. It will not disappoint, so hurry and join in another innovative Bourne event, as soon as you can.

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