Void @ Dance International Glasgow

Review by Róisín O'Brien | 10 May 2017

Running skittishly through the concrete milieu that is Glasgow’s Southside (because you stayed too long at the previous performance’s post-show chat) seems an apt way to approach VOID; a pumping, electric collaboration from performer and choreographer Mele Broomes, Dav Bernard (AV) and with direction by Bex Anson. Reworked to be site-specific, it easily adapts to the harsh draping of a motorway flyover.

Broomes enters by throwing herself at the bare floor, a car crash victim flung aside. She begins to move, but her movements are zombie-like in their uncaring alignment and harsh, broken twists. As VOID progresses, the acrobatic stakes escalate: Broomes hangs off metal railings or falls from great heights with an apparent lack of regard for safety. Under the flashing Glasgow traffic lights, Broomes gives us the thrill of the soaring gymnast with the brutality of the fall back to earth.

Themes of isolation and victimhood, particularly female inflicted, come across in this work inspired by J.G Ballard’s Concrete Island. At points, Broomes is the pleading office worker abandoned on the side of the road, at others she is an upright, spiky show of arms and legs, draped with video projections, both powerful and desperate.

Bernard’s AV design brings in its urban environment, churns it up and throws it back louder at the audience, while the constant video projections onto Broomes’ contorted body are slick and pulsating. VOID is deftly directed, its aural and visual components pushed right up against each other, almost fit to burst. As the piece trails into more abstract and acrobatic sequences, however, it suffers slightly from a loss of direction, despite Broomes remaining dependably impressive.

Performing any work outside of a confined space runs the not-necessarily unpleasant risk of unplanned interruptions. VOID, on its first night for DiG, is assailed by some drunken revellers about halfway through but this just about stitches into the fabric of VOID’s world. An exciting work, with a fearlessly agile performer.