Darkness. A fly buzzes monotonously and as the stage lightens, we can hear echoey vocals and see a sparse stage. A red arm chair and standing lamp. A white cross quarters the stage floor. Adam’s Family chandeliers act as pointers above musicians who circle a dancer with a wine glass expertly balanced on her head.
We’re welcomed and told this will be Picó’s ‘last concert’ before a singer standing on a washing machine mounted on a wheeled platform starts to belt out frenzied tunes, vaguely reminiscent of Bjork’s earlier band, The Sugar Cubes.
Award-winning Spanish dancer and choreographer, Sol Picó, has spent her whole life dancing, fusing flamenco, point and a variety of other disciplines. El Llac de les Mosques, combines original live jazz, ragtime, traditional Spanish instrumentals (Cajon drums, metal scrub board..) and a heavy dose of rock. A beautiful instrumental rendition of ‘Love Theme (A Time For Us)’ from Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet, sticks as one of the most haunting performances.
After Spanish and English intros, the show moves through a series of routines welding together different dance styles. Experimental Jazz prompts a robotic sequence while rock tunes evoke a plethora of amazingly controlled frenzied moves, including hop-scotch dancing, a rag-doll puppet ensemble and a unique rendition of a teddy bear roll.
From slow measured moves in heels and white lace to the saxophonist being dragged around as she plays and Picó being carried around the stage using another dancer as a climbing-frame, El Llac de les Mosques is far from predictable – it’s a thoroughly engaging performance piece from start to finish.
Although much of the show is very moody and silhouetted, with Picó transforming into one of sadistic neighbour Sid’s eerie-looking tortured toys from Toy Story and a strange crustacean of bandages, comical interludes and playful set-pieces, including amplified point Flamenco, make El Llac de les Mosques fascinating, rather than unnerving. ‘If you can manage to make it to the end of the show… we understand if you decide to go’, begins Picó, setting the playful tone for the rest of the performance, perfectly timing awkward pauses to get that audience chuckle she so successfully extracts.
Posing as a swimmer Picó projects her moves onto a back screen and performs the sword-through-the-box magician’s trick, utilising the washing machine and a Spanish flag. There’s a dance mocking musicians, a male bull fighter stand-off, a skit with ever-lowering microphones and a comical crab scuttling routine.
The fastest show on earth, El Llac de les Mosques is an absurdist Rocky Horror dance show, treading a fine line between sex and violence. On-stage risqué costume changes and a kaleidoscope-effect screen, further infuse this sensually stimulating impressive piece of choreographing.
Throughout on-running Snow White jokes, allude to Picó’s acute awareness of the passing of time: ‘Mirror mirror on the wall – who’s the oldest in the show?’ Bold, crazy and inventive with a unique sense of fun and a dizzying affect, Picó’s show has audiences continuously guessing, successfully manipulating individuals to reflect on her thematic message and interact with the show: ‘A good spin dry could change your life'; something those leaving the theatre, undoubtedly feel they’ve just experienced.
El Llac de les Mosques was performed on 23-24 June at:
Sadler’s Wells Theatre