THE STAGE // 11 May 2007

In her latest dance theatre piece, Justitia, Jasmin Vardimon matches narrative clarity with astonishing visual imagery in a balance that is notoriously difficult to achieve. Where the text in much dance theatre relies on a clumsy mix of memories and observations devised by the performers, Justitia wisely uses a script, by writer Rebecca Lenkiewicz, which provides a solid structure for Vardimon’s movement to enhance, explore and illuminate.

The premise is a murder trial, where we are presented with a number of variations on the events of the fatal evening. Dancers Paul Blackman and YunKrung Song - playing the victim and the accused - get the chance to really test their versatility as actor/performers and both come off well. Also impressive is Victoria Fox as the defence lawyer, who must carry the narrative as well as throwing herself into the extreme physicality of Vardimon’s choreography.

Just as Vardimon realises the limitations of movement to convey a detailed narrative, she capitalises on its power, beyond words, to cleverly construct or deconstruct characters. And she manages the changing pace and mood of the piece, from humour to horror, without losing coherence.

Integral to the show is the brilliant rotating set, divided into three interconnected spaces, and dramatically lit. One wall is riddled with holes and pierced by sharp shafts of light, each looking like the sword of Lady Justice herself. The production values are high, but that would be irrelevant without substance. Luckily, Justitia is a piece of powerful choreography with that rare commodity - genuine theatrical appeal.

by Lyndsey Winship

NOTTINGHAM EVENING POST

This extraordinary piece takes us to the edge of the modern dance genre. At times it plunges into legitimate theatre: each performer plays, not simply a representative type, but a real, well-delineated character with a name and a personal narrative.

It's a courtroom drama: a woman is on trial for the murder of her husband's friend. The interval serves as a recess during which we're invited by the defence lawyer to consider our verdict.

Essentially the first half consists of enactment of various hypotheses as to how the killing occurred: it incorporates repetition and amusing slow-motion rewinds, all remarkably well done. The second half opens out into a general exploration of the concept of guilt before telling us what really happened.

On a visually stunning revolving set, the performers move with amazing suppleness and agility, not only on the floor but up the walls, evoking a nightmarish quality.

Music and sound effects, and a screen on which the work of the court stenographer is displayed, are essential components of a rich and satisfying evening.

by Alan Geary

SOUTH WALES ARGUS // 4 May 2007

Justitia, The Riverfront, Newport

The medium of dance theatre pushed all boundaries when Jasmin Vardimon's Justitia was performed at Newport Riverfront last night.

Delving into the depths of our justice system, the audience were taken into a breathtaking investigation of a gripping crime story.

Events that lead to the death of a central character - therapist Seth Marvel - and the resulting trial of Mimi Kane, which drew comparisons on Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hung in Britain for murder.

The drama unfolded on an atmospherically lit, revolving stage moving with ease between the crime scene, the court house and a group therapy room.

Each scene allowed the characters to give a powerful portrayal of emotion physically and was delivered with a fusion of high energy and smooth, meticulous choreography.

Victoria Fox moved effortlessly between two strong dialogue roles as the defense lawyer and a therapy patient while Athanasia Kanellopoulou displayed virtuosity in physical delivery by making dance funny and intelligent.

Vardimon's script allowed comedy to mix with drama and touched on sensitive and sometimes taboo topics, making Justitia a must see.

By Andy Howells

 

 

 

‘Vividly physical and quirky performances…the audience was on its feet cheering.’ The Times (on PARK)

‘Jasmin Vardimon seems poised to be the next big popular British export.’ New York Times (on PARK)

‘Highly original material, beautifully executed by a talented cast.’
Independent on Sunday (on PARK)

‘Vardimon handles her tools with skill, juggling an eclectic pop score, movement and spoken text’ Independent on Sunday (on PARK)

‘Extraordinary… sexy and beautiful dance piece’ New Statesman (on PARK)

The remarkable Jasmin Vardimon does things with human bodies that defy gravity and belief and usually with weird dark humour’
Yorkshire Post (on PARK)

‘Bristling with tension, raw excitement and audacious moves… danced on a commendably authentic set’ The Stage (on PARK)

‘Choreography that is dangerous and beautiful… impassioned and remarkable.’ Daily Mail (on LULLABY)

‘Vardimon is a powerful voice in physical theatre and the daring movements she creates leave scars on the memory.’
The Guardian (on LULLABY)

‘Vardimon’s choreography has a compelling, creepy power, flicking between humour and horror at switchblade speed’ The Times (on LULLABY)

‘Refreshingly inventive… the best physical theatre currently on show’ Londondance.com (on LULLABY)

Vardimon is one of those dancers you can’t take your eyes off. Like an inquisitive cat, she bends and stretches, climbs and crawls, contorting her incredible body into ever more complex positions. She does the same with her choreography.’ The Scotsman (on TICKLISH)

“Clever and cruel…. Her looping, hooking, climbing-gym kinetic style has never been more cunning’ Time Out (on TICKLISH)

‘Entirely original – funny as well as watchable. The cast give her work full justice and I was sad when it finished’
Sunday Express (on TICKLISH)