Knot at Aldridge Studio at The Lowry
KNOT (nɒt) noun : (1) an interlacement of one or more flexible bodies; (2) a tight constriction or the sense of constriction; (3) the place where a tree limb joins the trunk; (4) a unit of speed equal to 1 nautical mile per hour.
When was the last time you saw a piece of theatre, billed as contemporary dance, that included circus acrobatics, humour, pathos and superb acting? Until last evening we had never seen such a challenging combination, but Nikki and JD, aka Nikki Rummer and Jean-Daniel Broussé, delighted a small but highly appreciative audience at the Lowry’s Aldridge Studio.
Described as 'A chance encounter between two acrobats: a frustrated lover and a jilted dreamer'. This is the story of two hearts making sense of perfection, and the first thing that makes us take notice is the dialogue that opens the show, setting the scene with stories of former partners of the couple that didn't work out for various reasons. We learn of the inevitable break-ups and the circumstances that led to our two performers getting together in the first place.
We are then taken forward on a semi-autobiographical journey of attraction, love, hate, falling out and reconciliation, all expressed by movement and dance. And not just any old movement. Interlacement hardly describes it. At times the two appeared to be wrestling, as indeed they probably were mentally - trying to make sense of their situation.
The two intertwined beautifully and erotically with a strength and co-ordination that provoked gasps of appreciation from the audience, who it has to be said, were initially unsure of how to react or show their appreciation. Once people were comfortable with applauding (not wanting to distract the duo), then more followed every time a piece of acrobatic genius was demonstrated.
Cleverly, JD and Nikki used their microphones to continue the narrative and we learn more about their separate private lives including the revelation that JD is actually Gay and they aren't a couple after all.
Who knew? It’s a classic can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em situation.
In the original performances this is where Knot ended, but the piece has been extended and we hear of JD's coming out to his beloved Father (and foregoing the chance to inherit the bakery business that’s been handed down through generations), and of Nikki's longing for a male life partner who actually wants her physically, as well her frustration with her late father who demonstrated pride in his Daughter's achievements to everyone but her, and, possibly her jealousy that when JD’s father eventually sees them perform he loved it.
The final section deals mainly with their acceptance that being together has an inevitable shelf life and we are left wondering what happens to them both moving forward.
The hour long performance is at times exhausting to watch, let alone enact, and both Niki and JD show tremendous talent not just as dancers, but as actors too, with impressive comedic timing throughout.
Sadly, this is their only show close by, but the tour moves on to Warwick (Arts Centre), Brighton (The Old Market in Hove), and London (The Place), and then eventually to Avignon in May.
Please tell your friends to go see as they, like us, will feel it’s the best hour spent in a long time. A lady we spoke to afterwards said she wanted sex there and then, but she wasn’t looking at her husband.
By Paul Schofield for Canal St Online.
Tour details are here