The North

The North is as hostile, unforgiving and beautiful as the land to which it dedicates its hour-long runtime. As an audience member unfamiliar with the tenets of physical theatre, one should not expect The North to go easy on the uninitiated. Perplexing, puzzling and more interested in how it tells its story than the story being told, The North is a beautiful show to watch that doesn’t necessarily have any interest in providing the audience with answers that some might crave.

A show well worth the price of admission for those willing to spend an hour getting lost in a world entirely different from the one outside the venue’s doors.

Ostensibly, The North tells the story of a man lost in a harsh arctic climate who is taken in by two creatures of indeterminate origin, sexuality, physicality and perhaps even legitimate existence. Everything is questionable when it comes to the narrative of a show like The North and that can be frustrating for audience members expecting a more linear viewing experience. However, as the show’s protagonist must learn to do, if one let’s go of their preconceptions and allows themselves to be swept up in The North, there is a great deal of enjoyment to be had in the experience.

Chiefly, the technical expertise of this show is a force to be reckoned with. In particular the choreography of Joan Clevillé and the lighting design by Emma Jones. These two disparate elements are perfectly wedded to create a jaw-droppingly beautiful atmosphere of tender hostility. The room, with its entirely white stage and backdrop, helped immensely, but it is the world crafted largely by Jones and Clevillé that gives The North almost all of its power. The rest comes from the performers: Eve Ganneau, John Kendall and Solene Weinachter. All three are strong dancers and intensely committed actors, at times to a discomforting degree. Although it was often unclear what the three of them were doing on stage, it was never in doubt that they were doing it with the utmost attention to detail.

The North is beautiful to listen to, look at and experience. Joan Clevillé Dance have put together a show well worth the price of admission for those willing to spend an hour getting lost in a world entirely different from the one outside the venue’s doors. For those looking for something more narrative-driven or focused on a particular plot or story, The North may not be quite what they are looking for.

Reviews by Charlie Ralph

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The Blurb

It’s a place we all know, but we have never been… A forest, a desert of ice. The land of ancient gods, wild animals and strange creatures. The home of the Terrible and the Sublime… After their highly acclaimed debut Plan B for Utopia, Joan Clevillé Dance return with The North – the bleak yet whimsical story of a young man’s journey in search for meaning in an unpredictable environment. A place with its own sense of time and space, where being lost is the norm and letting go the only way to survive…