Company of Elders – Mixed Bill @ Sadler’s Wells Review

Established in 1989, Company of Elders for over 3 decades now have championed the voices of the over 60s. A much needed space for a demographic typically ignored in the mainstream to explore, present and  connect, Company of Elders welcome home break barriers – returning to Sadler’s Wells with their latest collection of works.

Spilt into 3 dance pieces, Company of Elders delight with with their undoubtably unrivalled togetherness and joie de vivre. You’re Here, You’re Here – choreographed by Rhiannon Faith centring us in a care home with dancers Christy Adair, Rosie Chapple, Ian Cunningham, Saskia Heriz, Bob Kingsley, Hilary Lane, Michael Munday, Helen Tate and Sarah-Jane Wren – the cast communicating with one another via sustained, contemporary geared movements around the wooden chairs placed on stage, a top antiquated patterned carpets and a house plant being passed around the chairs. Monologues interspliced – one about a growing frustration that builds up within an ensemble member, she – a mother of 2, her mother a century old. Another ensemble member based by a wooden table adorned with bakeware, we hear about the power of baking and how this hobby brings communities together.You’re Here, You’re Here embodies a tai-chi-like vibe, its steady pace adding a sense of intensity.

we’re going to have to get better at this celebrates the power of ageing, Sabrina Mahfouz’s resonant poetry, teamed up with dancers Almeric Johnson, Amina Patel, Betsy Field, Catriona Maccoll, Chris Havell, Damien Murphy, Dahlia Douglas, Isidora Joseph, Kate Marshall, Keiko Onishi, Linda Lewcock, Margaret Gaskin, Monica Duck, Rachel Thompson, Roberto Ishii, Sara Harris and Stephen Rowe all purposely shifting from one end of the stage to the next in unison, creating a sense of intrigue as to what’ll happen next, the stark contrast between this and the cast performing to Donna Summer’s I Feel Love dismantling images of old age upheld in the mainstream and showcasing variety.

Lastly, Last Night a DJ Saved My Life places the complicated nature of love at the fore, 2 best friends – Ursula and Maggie pondering Ursula’s failed relationship with Johnathan, a dynamic that had promising beginnings at the start but appeared to dissipate at its formative stage. Jojo’s, a local night club becoming the setting for Ursula’s coming to grips with heartbreak, the ensemble previously mentioned vividly illustrating the relationships that have shaped Ursula’s love life – Bagsy choreographing a slick, smooth part drama/part dance routine as funk and jazz collide to embody the energy of Ursula’s past. All in all an entertaining afternoon reminding us all of the power of dance!

Review written by Lucy Basaba.

Company of Elders was shown on Saturday 1st July 2023 at Sadler’s Wells. To find out more about the production, visit here…

Written by Theatrefullstop