Maria Addolorata @ Summerhall

Review by Eric Karoulla | 19 Aug 2014
  • Maria Addolorata

As the first chapter of the Trilogy of Pain, Maria Addolorata (Our Lady of Sorrows) sets up the idea of nonsensical suffering. Suffering and pain don’t come when it is most convenient, but rather unexpectedly, and often in multiple doses, as the old adage claims ‘misery loves company.’ Of course, in Buddhism, this suffering is considered part of life.

Awkward, yet executed in a long series of fluid motions, C&C company’s award-winning work makes for difficult reading for those unfamiliar with meaning behind each movement. Of course, some of them are quite obvious as portrayals of pain, such as when the dancers flip through the air and slam into the floor after consuming beer, skin slapping against the floorboards loudly. The choreography flows quite well and is aesthetically intriguing, particularly as it alternates between classical-type ballet and the simple act of the performers abusing each other physically til they bleed, but as a piece about pain and suffering, it doesn’t feel risky and weighty enough for the movement to convey this.

Intense, brutal at times, and yet uncomfortably funny at others, Maria Addolorata falls into the cracks between physical theatre and dance, but unless you are particularly interested in the genre, it can feel quite inaccessible. 

Maria Addolorata, Summerhall, until 24 Aug, 6.40pm, various prices http://festival14.summerhall.co.uk/event/maria-addolorata/