H2 Dance return to The Place following their 2013 performance of Duet , with Staging Ages a piece of work that explores how different generations interact with each other.
Blending dance, theatre and performance the show flits between different ages – not chronologically but more of a random sequence that shows how our attitudes towards people are considerably different according to their age.
It is a fascinating and thoughtful show that is more like a scientific experiment than something that tries to get the audience involved – which tends to make it feel emotionally detached and a bit soulless in places.
But what it also shows is the way in which our attitudes to our own bodies changes as we grow older. From the confidence of youth through to the uncomfortable realisation that we are getting older and can’t necessarily make our bodies do the same things when we were younger – in short it reveals our ability to adapt and change.
In the early stages and even in places during the middle section of the performance, it is not always clear exactly what Staging Ages is trying to say but it gradually unfolds to become a piece of work that argues persuasively about how we should consider age and the stereotypes that comes with particular ages.
The performers were all excellent but in particular Sean Dodgson really brings a smile to the audience’s face, with his childish sense of humour and the way in which he embraces the show itself.
In terms of the choreography by Hanna Gilgren and Heidi Rustgaard, it feels extremely repetitive and although it is understandable as to why that is, it would be easy for the audience to not pay attention after a while. But after a while, it does become more intense and there is certainly more energy as the show goes on – despite the fact it doesn’t feel as though it flows particularly well.
Overall, H2 Dance does create some wonderful moments and ideas with Staging Ages, but it feels a bit forced and lacking in emotional engagement to make it truly successful.
Staging Ages finishes at The Place this evening (Saturday 17th October).