#Hofest

Dance, Contemporary and experimental
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#Hofest
Tom Medwel
'Political Mother'

Brilliant contemporary choreographer Hofesh Shechter stages his own festival this autumn.

The bad boy of contemporary dance Hofesh Shechter brings his triumphant, intense and completely exhilarating dance/rock-gig mash-up 'Political Mother' (7 & 8 October)  back to London this October as part of festival '#Hofest'. This time, though, the piece is being staged in its biggest ever venue - at the O2 Academy in Brixton, where the mosh pit will likely get fiery. The festival brings together a series of events staged by Shechter and his company over the autumn and as well as the return of the intense 'Political Mother' there's also a chance to catch a new trilogy from Shechter 'Barbarians' (18-25 Sept) at Sadler's Wells, and the choreographer's opera directorial debut 'Orphee et Eurydice' (Royal Opera House. Sept 14 - Oct 3). Tickets for the first two go on sale May 11, while the opera is on sale from July 14. As well as the main strand of events there will be dance workshops 'Degeneration' (1 & 2 Oct), a piece performed by the Shechter Junior company at Stratford Circus. 

RECOMMENDED: Read an interview with choreographer Hofesh Shechter

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Tastemaker

Taking a Classic Italian opera, Orphee et Eurydice, and turning it around into a modern, edgy sold out production is quite a feat. All the main characters sung beautifully backed by an amazing choir and Hofesh Shechter, as an avant garde dance choreographer highlighted the furies and the heavens through his dance company.

Although some of the dance sequences were slightly confusing, the sparse stage setting was dramatised by the moving orchestra differentiating between heaven and hell.

Overall, the atmosphere was buzzing with a magnificent performance by Juan Diego Florez, and for me, who doesn't see opera ever, I thoroughly enjoyed this modern production.

Tastemaker

All I can really say about this show is that it’s a bit odd and I think it went over my head a little bit.  The dancers were great and I enjoyed watching them, but I didn’t really understand the story they were telling us.  Maybe it was meant to be left to interpretation and the viewer takes what they want, but I prefer something with a bit more structure.  I also thought the second half dragged on a little.

Tastemaker

The Barbarians trilogy is definitely ‘experimental’: meaning not yet finished or thought trough.

Lots of head banging, air punching, twerking, clapping; extremely loud sounds (not really music) and abrupt light effects – all dissonant, all unconnected: hardly the relationships’ discussions that they are supposed to be about. After a long conversation between a robotic woman voice and the choreographer’s, not even all dancers naked in the stage were enough to make me less sleepy...

The third set, a duet, is a little bit more engaging; all the dissonance seems to at least create some meaning (despite the distracting ridiculous outfit of the male dancer).

In the middle of the second set, a dancer addresses the audience with some self-deprecating joke; as if we were all in the joke, as if it would then make any sense... But did it really? (No. Of course not.)