Arthur Pita and HeadSpaceDance’s production of ‘Stepmother/Stepfather’ promised to be a “world where macabre folklore meets the grotesque”, and it certainly lived up to those expectations. With costumes not dissimilar a high end New York drag show - swathes of leather and ginormous jewels – the double bill was visually intriguing from the get go. Corey Claire Annaund, as Snow White in her glass box, was pristine and truly doll-like with her small yet mighty physique.
Through the exploration of all that is evil within fairy tales, the company called upon innovative devises to reinvent the familiar stories, such as the magnifying glass ‘mirror on the wall’ effect and the feisty disco queen ‘big bad wolf’. Fascinating Karl Fagerlund Brekke utilised his height very well as the Stepmother, particularly alongside the partially nude Christopher Akrill; together providing an entrancing yin and yang routine. Often the partially on-stage costume changes were distracting, but this was forgiven with performances such as Nadia Adame’s Stepmother, which had a tremendous sense of control and core engagement, articulating her hands specifically and beautifully.
The company excelled in bringing symmetry and mirror images to the forefront of the piece, with dancing torture twins and Stepfather Eugene with his dead self, providing sleek, balanced imagery. A sense of contrast, light and shade, through the tempo of the performance was more prevalent in the second half of the piece – although at times the movement felt a little clunkier than it began with. Nonetheless, Clemmie Sveaas’s mesmerising performance as the ‘dripping girl’, along with the sudden eerie vastness of the stage, was the epitome of a dark elegance; captivating and hypnotic. Well worth a watch -the performance continues to tour the UK, with their next performance in London at The Place from the 2nd - 11th March 2017. - ★★★☆☆ Faye Butler