Revisor is a unique and highly inventive dance piece. It’a a dance show that marries bold theatrical elements with powerful storytelling and lightning fast dance numbers. The show is written by Jonathon Young with choreography and direction by Crystal Pite. Young and Pite previously collaborated on the extraordinary Betroffenheit, a show that I still think about. Revisor’s narrative wasn’t as clear and didn’t have quite the same impact but there are many delightful surprises and moments of brilliance.
The story is a well known tale from Russia about mistaken identity and became a five act play called Revisor, known to English audiences as The Inspector General, a rank farce examining greed and corruption.
The first part of the story is told in voice-overs with the dancers grotesquely mouthing the words, they become over the top caricatures. This was absolutely delightful to watch during the first part of the show. It worked for a time and was very funny but the device seemed to carry on too long. They told the story first with the dialogue and then again primarily with dance. I wonder if it might have worked better if they had moved back and forth between the two.
The dance numbers are spectacular and the dancers fluidity and dexterity is breathtaking. They often looked like marionettes, so light and graceful as if they were being plucked around the stage on strings. The level of synchronicity of the dancers was extraordinary. All the dancers were exceptional but Jermaine Spivey moved so freely it looked as though his limbs were made of rubber.
Tom Visser’s lighting design is incredible, he paints so many gorgeous pictures with his lighting scheme. There is a starkness and a gloominess which adds so much to the piece and there are moments where the lights in combination with the fast movements of the dancers felt as though we were watching an animation or a particularly creepy horror film.
This work is bold and Young and Pite are revising the way we see dance.