Needcompany Makes the Mushrooms Dance
Bernd Aulich - Recklinghäuser Zeitung (26 March 2013)

MUSH-ROOM premieres a grotesque spectacle. As a performance group, the Flemish Needcompany always promises clownish surprises. With Marketplace 76, directed by Jan Lauwers and performed at the Ruhrtriennale last September, it launched a real horror show. This new premiere returns to that stamping ground. In MUSH-ROOM, choreographer Grace Ellen Barkey manages without any story line for an hour and half. The predominantly youthful audience, however, was captivated. Born in Indonesia, Barkey founded Needcompany together with Jan Lauwers in 1986. The scenographic wonderlands developed by artist Lot Lemm have once again catapulted the audience into real musea. The entire set of MUSH-ROOM is also a show in itself. Reminiscent of sprites, performers and dancers loom out of the fog to unfold and attach mushrooms upside down upon stage bars like fans, making them dance. Actors carry their weight through the hallucinogenic effects of the threatening mushrooms. The twelve canned music tracks created by cult band The Residents from San Francisco, released on CD to coincide with the premiere, are most effective. Their soundwaves mischievously deconstruct pop music, not unlike a Bond soundtrack at times. The result is a most impressive acrobatic war dance delivered by very agile performers , crawling like caterpillars across the stage, exploring the mushrooms’ world revolution in bright childlike armour. In this frenzied gambol, Grace Ellen Barkey uses all of her expressive power to separate herself from every illusion. Every theatrical effect is openly performed onstage.

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