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Dance: Border Tales

Dance breaks barriers down

Border Tales

The Place, London WC1

4 Stars

Border Tales by the Protein dance company blends dance, dialogue and live music in a riveting exploration of multiculturalism and migration in Britain.

Issues of identity, literal and imagined border crossings and the opening of barriers between individuals come into focus as the demarcation between "them" and "us" sharpens.

This is all conveyed without diatribe or patronising sincerity in an intimate in-the-round staging.

By turns witty and affecting, the intensity of the dance combines powerfully with the spoken word, as the performers - international and local - trawl their own personal memories of family, their origins and racism.

It's a remarkable technique of "motion-conversation" and as thrilling a dance experience as you'll get. The rhythmic vocal delivery shows off a cast who can act too.

They are all hugely engaging with Stuart Waters, at breakneck speed, providing the production's most complex movement sequence. Combined with an assured vocal delivery it introduces the "how does he do that?" wow factor.

This highly developed physical theatre from choreographer Luca Silvestrini incorporates a fantastic musical score, poignant and humorous exchanges, captivating monologues and fast-moving physicality.

Its unsentimentality in addressing the issues is refreshing and this production will certainly appeal to those who, opposed to borders of any description, see their culture and identity in the here and now,

Runs to March 15. Box office: (020) 7121-1100.

Peter Lindley


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