Steve Reich Project

If this was billed as Music and took place in a concert hall, the MP4 Quartet’s perfomance of three pieces by Steve Reich, Pendulum Music, Different Trains and WC 9/11 would earn five stars for their superb rendition, but confusingly this takes place in Dance Base, the Edinburgh home of contemporary dance and one can be forgiven for expecting rather more dance from the choreographer Isabella Soupart than this show contains.

Go if you want to hear Steve Reich’s music but maybe sit there with your eyes closed,

This is especially disappointing as the two latter pieces commemorate such horrific tragedies: Different Trains which compares the holocaust trains that took their inmates to the gas chambers to the peace-time trains in New York and the last piece, WC 9/11, the World Trade Center atrocity.

In the first piece, Pendulum Music, the dancer (Shantala Pèpe or Johanna Willlig-Rosenstein depending on the date you see it) plays with the long lead of a microphone, holding it out, stroking it, pointing it at the audience. Eventually she lets it swing (like a pendulum). The banality of this is breath-taking. This cannot be said of the little amount of dance she eventually performs.

In the second piece, the choreographer has given up even trying to create dance and the dancer is relegated to the role of stage-hand, moving the musicians’ stands round the stage, so that they have to follow her. I notice the stands wobbling which would make reading the score impossible, but luckily the musians know it well enough for this not to matter. This is not the sort of thought you want intruding during a performance, taking the audience out of the imaginative and musical moment. And the point of this moving around the stage? Some heavy-handed notion of moving suggesting trains moving? Whatever it signifies, it is irritating and detracts from listening. Apart from the brilliance of the music, the back screen is the only commendable part of this mixed media collaboration. Showing broken lettering, spelling out 'Different Trains', it is a visually affecting metaphor.

In the last piece, WC 9/11, the dancer at last performs a beautifully moving piece of choreography, turning round and round with arms outstretched as if someone falling from the towers. Inspired in its simplicity, it gives honour and dignity to the tragedy. Any more complicated choreography would bring attention to itself inappropriately. What a shame that this quality of sensitivity is not expressed in the other two pieces.

Go if you want to hear Steve Reich’s music but maybe sit there with your eyes closed, except for the last piece.

Reviews by Stephanie Green

Scottish Ballet

The Secret Theatre

Traverse Theatre

Antigone, Interrupted

Festival Theatre

Scottish Ballet: The Snow Queen

Royal Lyceum Theatre

An Edinburgh Christmas Carol

Festival Theatre

Rite of Spring

Dance Base

Juliet & Romeo


Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

A truly trance-inducing performance inspired by three masterpieces from Steve Reich, interpreted by the new generation. A string quartet and a dancer will sweep you away in the powerful confrontation of dance and music amidst hypnotic images and soundscapes. Choreographer Isabella Soupart and the MP4 Quartet take on Pendulum Music, Different Trains (1989 Best Contemporary Composition Grammy Award winner) and WTC 9/11, bringing forth intimate reflections with worldwide historical drama. The Steve Reich Project is a pulsating fusion of dance, music and video art, a raw, deeply moving statement on the frailty of the human condition.

Most Popular See More

The Lion King

From £45.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Heathers The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Life of Pi

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £31.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets