The pulsating, nerve-pinging soundtrack and metal, cage-like grid frames set the scene for Never Forever, the first collaboration between director Falk Richter and choreographer Nir de Volff.
The high-octane show opens with the cast dispersed in individual cells, all experiencing some kind of angst: particularly the kind that’s brought on by lonely city living, relationship breakdown and the looming influence of internet communication. The sparse set becomes a playground for the cast; part Schaubühne ensemble and part dancers from Total Brutal, both teams succeed in switching between movement and text and melting themselves into, or swinging themselves effortlessly around the structure.
At times the audience members are voyeurs watching the characters break down; at other times, we’re accomplices forced to reflect on our own existence. Often directly addressed, we sometimes feel as though we are there to be impressed, at other times bullied and sometimes even blamed.
Wonderful performances from the cast; energetic, animalistic and fierce solo and ensemble movement sequences, an imagined Jekyll and Hyde-esque break-up scene and some funny explorations of characters living life to the extreme.
Ilse Ritter is an interesting still counterpoint: she recites some wonderful classic passages and there are some heartbreaking moments of confusion and memory loss, her not knowing what is real and what is part of an act. Her role here, or at least her delivery, offers some warmth in this otherwise intense piece.
A tad long with some themes revisited unnecessarily but some beautifully pure moments of movement, comedy and chaos in this very classy, highly skilled and wonderfully performed abstract show.
Never Forever: Oct 22-23, 20:00, Oct 24, 20:30 | Schaubühne, Kurfürstendamm 153, Charlottenburg, U-Bhf Adenauer Platz.
Originally published in issue #131, October 2014.