The End

Celebrated Scottish choreographer Jack Webb has brought his latest, typically idiosyncratic work, The End, for performance at this year’s Festival Fringe as part of the extensive programme at Dance Base. The abstract work, not surprisingly, revolves around interpreting what is meant by ‘the end’ and the how the end and beginnings are interrelated.

The End is an intense, demanding work for both cast and audience.

The importance of the concept is highlighted by a large red neon sign that proclaims ‘THE END’. The dance space is bare, dimly lit and hazy. The opening phase is accompanied by pulsating, softly throbbing sounds that were they to go on much longer might seem to be a form of torture so emphatically do they occupy the brain. The movements of three dancers bring them together in embraces both real, mimed and frozen. A following section has contrasting angular, jagged contortions with almost work-like motifs. Throughout the piece there is high-level energy: the action is relentless and the effort required to sustain it enormous.

The extended scenes seem to slow down time as part of the conceptual construction of this work, but in so doing can also give a sense of frustration that the point has been made and that it is time to move on. The piece continues through a highly charged disco of techno music as it moves towards its own end. The mood changes to sounds reminiscent of thunderbolts, of crackling fires raging and volcanic explosions. The dancers enter into another phase, this time walking backwards in circles as though into eternity or perhaps to the beginning of a former end or to the ultimate apocalyptic end of all things; but then what? In all the turbulence they come together gripping each other’s hands in a line while rotating around the floor as in turn they are centrifugally cast away.

The End is an intense, demanding work for both cast and audience. There is plenty of time for the mind to have free reign in this work; to interpret and seek meaning and to untangle its conceptual knot.

Reviews by Richard Beck

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Performances

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The Blurb

When we end something, is this an opportunity to look at things differently, openly and begin again? Acclaimed Scottish choreographer Jack Webb and a company of three exceptional dancers confront and explore the dramatic notion of end points, the end of the world, the end of life as we know it, the end of good, bad and all in between. Extraordinary choreographic style and powerful soundscapes combine for a startlingly thoughtful and compelling experience that looks our very existence straight in the eye. The End is a Tramway and Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art Co-Production.

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