Review – Will Tucket’s “Pleasure’s Progress” – Linbury Studio

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I went to Pinocchio, I went to Fairies, and yet still I came marching back to the Linbury for Will Tuckett’s latest, “Pleasure’s Progress.” I was tempted by 1) new work 2) salacious topic 3) short running time. At worst, by the time I hated it, it would all be over, and then I’d probably have something raunchy to distract me, right?

Gah I was wrong in so many ways. First, the running time (90 minutes), was longer than I thought, though it wouldn’t have mattered if I’d been enjoying myself rather than staring longingly at the people who snuck out early; instead, I was wondering just how long they could drag this damned thing out. Second, rather than being raunchy, this was just crude, with a masturbating monkey, people constantly feeling themselves up, puerile jokes a la people running together sales pitches for candy and almonds so they could say,”Lick!” “My nuts!” (and “finger” “my muff,” don’t ask), and so on. There was an extended story about a whore, starting from her arrival in London to her death of pox at 23, but it failed to be juicy … just sad. (A series of extended jokes about an impotent man did at least hit the comedy note.)

And oh the choreography. Tuckett’s movement, again and again, just looked like an accident, like the people on stage were about to bump into each other and tried to make it look good. Every now and again I noticed some fairly complex grouping that showed the maker’s hand; but none of these things felt like dance. I do not understand why the Royal Opera House keeps giving this man choreographic commissions; it seems driven out of a sense of pity, or perhaps a need to fulfill contractual obligations.

Not all was a loss. The costuming was good, the woman playing the nymphomaniac had a truly pleasant voice I was sad to have miked, and I had a chuckle or two during the song “You’ve Got the Clap.” The song “Drunk for a Penny” (about gin, of course) and the scene surrounding it was genuinely touching; but the rest of the evening I would have chucked as carelessly as the pissed bawd did her baby. All of the singing, costumes, and references to high culture (Hogarth) in the world couldn’t give this show coherence; it is a complete failure and I sincerely hope that after its short run it never again sees the light of day.

(This review is for a preview performance that took place on Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010. It runs at the Linbury until Sunday, September 26th. Per the web site it’s almost a year until this show is actually formally opened; best of luck fixing it in the meantime.)

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2 Responses to “Review – Will Tucket’s “Pleasure’s Progress” – Linbury Studio”

  1. Anya Szreter Says:

    You have so missed the point. This is, like all great ground breaking art forms, challenging your little grey cells to open your imagination to something unconventional. It is so refreshing to be shown an entirely different way of interpreting a story. I found it breathtaking to envisage the precision timing and intensive rehearsal required to perfect all those intricate movements and each cast member was so acxcomplished that it was hard to be sure which oif them was primarily a dancer and which primarily a singer. In either case, they had mastered the other performance skill required of them in this show to be utterly convincing. The music was clever, hilarious and poignant by turns and musicians played, unceasingly all night, to the highest standard.

    • webcowgirl Says:

      The performers were good, but rehearsing a show extensively to get it right does not actually necessarily result in a good end product. The music was fine but forgettable (yet still far better than Passion). Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for a nice, solid response supporting your take..

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