Alyona Ageeva’s Physical Theatre PosleSlov return to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for the third year with a piece that feels very much like a direct sequel to last year’s Sky Labyrinths.
Very much what one expects from the fantastic PosleSlov
Three semi-nude female dancers stand over Arsenii Kurianov, who lies on the stage. Their long hair hangs across their faces like death shrouds as a fifth (director and performer Konstantinov Konstantin) sits in a chair and observes with indifference. Kurianov is roused from his slumber or possibly awoken from death and a flowing, complex routine begins focussed around a death mask that is passed from dancer to dancer to both entice and deflect.
When choreographer and dancer Alyona Ageeva takes to the stage, her delicate, lithe form moves through the more regimented dance of the rest of the cast and she draws Kurianov into one of their famous dance duets. There’s a fascinating use of mirroring and repetition in the movements which feel sometimes like the dancers are moving through a maze or following a pattern that we cannot discern. It’s beautiful and delightfully vague in its simplicity.
The red fabric from Sky Labyrinths makes a return but used in a very different way; being worn as a sensual Boho scarf by the masculine Kurianov, and as a thrown weapon to disorient and dismay. After this we experience a flirtatious tango which is both sexual and filled with conflict before Konstantin finally joins the rest of the cast to hand out long coloured ribbons which are used to create a rhythmic, repetitive, almost pagan ritual.
Ariadna is very much what one expects from the fantastic PosleSlov; a piece that explores gender, mysticism, the human body, and ritual. The costume design by Tatiana Fedotova is simple and graceful, with long, sheer draping on the otherwise nude dancers. David Block’s soundscape is an ever-changing feast for the ears and, although it is sometimes oppressive, these moments are impactful rather than uncomfortable.