Movement that speaks to your being
So, you didn’t listen. You left it to the last minute to buy your tickets for Spoken Movement’s Obibini at Sadler’s Wells Lilian Baylis Theatre on Thursday? In that case – unless you were at Redbridge Drama Centre for the first showing of Kwame Asafo-Adjei’s very first full length work – you’ve lost your chance to say ‘I was there’ for the launch of a group of creatives who will make art history in years to come. If you were there and didn’t also book tickets for this time, you’ll still loose out because they’ve put in more work and the show is slicker, more elevating and more grounded.
And when I say ‘art history’ I mean what I say. I’ve watched hundreds of dance performances, not just in London but all over four continents, and Obibini – as performed last year at Redbridge Drama Centre – is the first time that I have experienced dance theatre at this level. Kwame is good at bathetic juxtaposition, and the experience he provides is expressive, enthralling, scary and resonant. While others felt the work at Redbridge engendered a direct spirituality, my breath was taken by the confidence with which the audience was handled, along with Spoken Movement’s use of silence and space.
The company makes a good team too. Outstandingly so in an area where great teamwork is the aspirational Norm. Company members simultaneously follow to the letter and interpret Kwame’s instructions. This results in a coherent whole that viscerally pulls you in unexpected directions.
While Kwame does the inspirational creative stuff, Victoria Shulungu’s patient production perspective pulls the work together with internal details and external engagement. I could go on, because each participant brings something uniquely special to the mix and the mix works well, but it’s better you see it for yourself.
Am I biased? Hell yes! I spotted Kwame and Victoria years ago as some who would rise to stellar heights, and have alternated between doing the little I can to support them and holding my breath as I watched their work come together. So yes, I am biased. Also rather smug.
Follow Spoken Movement. Sign up at DanceGR.ist so you don’t miss this type of thing in the future. Follow the DanceGr.ist social media, particularly Instagram, and the next time I tell you to get tickets don’t leave it so long.
Obibini is part of Sadler’s Wells Wild Card series.