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Review: From England with Love at HOME ‘explores the contradictions of living in the UK’

From England with Love by Hofesh Shechter is a powerful and provocative dance performance that challenges political beliefs and explores the contradictions of living in the UK
England with Love

Hofesh Shechter has been described by Time Out as “London’s most vital choreographer”, and you can see why.

When you sit down to watch a piece by this lord of the dance, there is something quite mystical, magical and cinematic taking place.

From England with Love at HOME

England with Love

You escape, but sometimes end up going down a path with is intense, uncomfortable and it makes you question political beliefs, ideas and the information which you are being fed on a daily basis. And it does this through the power of silence.

From England with Love is no different and see a terrific team of young dancers seeking something. It explores the contradictions of living in the UK.

It is a country which prides itself on stating how tolerant it is.

But should we be tolerating others? Isn’t that simply putting up with them but keeping them in their place?

The contradictions of living in the UK

How about accepting them, embracing them? We witness violence as the contradictions are rooted within the history that no one wants to talk about without referencing strong cups of tea and a stiff upper lip.

This is a show which explores identity and what it means to not only be different but an individual within a country that says, everyone is welcome and then trots out simplistic soundbite slogans such as “Stop the Boats” in order to create division and ultimately be a vote winner, by creating scapegoats.

Dressed as school kids on a mission to find the truth, the young dance troupe move and contort their bodies like Linda Blair at an Exorcist reunion party.

They look possessed by a desire to seek out the truth and find out what is at the heart of the matter.

Amazing lighting by Tom Visser

Tom Visser’s lighting is astonishing, as it means that each ‘scene’ is juxtaposed with dynamic intensity and it reminded me of French New Wave cinema, as the jump cuts send you spinning in different directions and leave your mind racing.

The score mixes classical composers with rock music that riles you into a false sense of security, followed by anger.

And the repetitive beats remind you that we keep hearing the same old song, when it comes to the news.

Day after day, rinse and repeat. “We are sticking to the plan.”

As we listen to hymns of our past which are still sung in churches, at weddings and funerals, louder and more aggressive music begins to take over.

Removing the rose-tinted spectacles

Our rose-tinted reading spectacles are removed, and we witness the power of youth, the change makers, the brave souls who dare to question what they have always told as the truth and tradition, when something offensive is uttered.

I found myself lost in this show and I wanted to stay there. I was not lost in the music, the marvellous motion, striking visuals and beauty of the piece. But also, because From England with Love manages to convey more than a 2-hour film, or play, without uttering a single word.

Holly Brennan, Yun-chi Mai, Eloy Cojal Mestre, Matthew Lara Pederson, Piers Sanders, Rowan Van Sen, Gaetano Signorelli and Toon Theunissen are all remarkable, they never leave the stage, and they bring power, majesty, confusion, fear and optimism, with the flick of a hand or the turn of their heads.

Whether their moves look like they are predicting a riot or looking like We’ve Gotta Get Out of This Place, they deliver with style, finesse, and panache.

Celebrating our differences

From England with Love celebrates our differences but acknowledges that we cannot cling onto the past.

And with a General Election coming up, and the slogan Make Britain Great again already rearing its ugly head, like a pound shop Trump, you can hope that we enter a new phase, where we begin to look forward, instead of keep referring to how things used to be.

Tickets for From England with Love at HOME

In the meantime, you can catch From England with Love at HOME until Saturday 8th June and you can book your tickets here

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