Tuesday, 16 August 2005

Adam Cooper in Les Liaisons Dangereuses

Adam Cooper in Les Liaisons Dangereuses
©Hidemi Seto

Sadler's Wells, 21 July-14 August

Coming back to the daily life after two weeks away in Germany, the production that was waiting for me at Sadler's Wells was Adam Cooper in Les Liaisons Dangereuses. This is a big production that covered three weeks of the summer season in this prestigious theatre. It is special to have that long period of performance here, as normally they change a show every week. Adam Cooper had a success at Sadler's Wells with Singing in the Rain last summer, which brought many families and others. Compared to that, Les Liaisons Dangereuses was very quiet, partly because of the dodgy situation in London. Always it is interesting to see the audience from an usher's view, and this time, I found there were more elderly people than usual. From Japanese point of view, the 'Adam Cooper & elderly people' does not make sense. But here it works as 'famous old story & elderly people'. Yes, that would be it.
This production has gorgeous huge sets and costumes. Here I think of the sponsor, TBS, one of the biggest broadcasting companies in Japan. We workers at Sadler's Wells all enjoy the Japanese ladies who come and see a show everyday, that can be either Adam Cooper or Mathew Bourne. It is very impressive how keen they are, so it really makes sense that TBS sponsored for this Adam Cooper's show and they had a premiere in Japan.
I enjoyed the set by Lez Brotherston. With or without an intension, the gold screens reminded me the Japanese traditional Noh stage, together with the chorus on black dresses and masks, holding up torches. These visual elements effectively shaped the madly formalized 18th century French high society. The music by Phillip Feeney was also very impressive although sometimes the shift between each scene felt fragmented. The music had the biggest role that manipulates the atmosphere and energy on the stage. I did not like the performance itself as I felt it did not talk to me. I have seen three Adam's productions, and I think he is good enough to smooth things up and make OK shows, but he is not brave or creative enough to make people surprise or move. I just don't feel anything. I like his legend Swan in Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake. And I wonder when his great performance happens again. Now he has pursuing another way as director-performer. And it is said generally that a great performer is not necessarily a great choreographer or director. They are very different jobs.

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