Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Fight to Get a Ticket to This Visual Feast

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Fight to Get a Ticket to This Visual Feast

Article excerpt

MIFREVIEW TREE of codes THE OPERA HOUSE T the risk of waxing lyrical, trying to describe the world premiere of Tree of ACodes, is like capturing a butterfly without damaging its delicate wings.

One of the major productions of the Manchester International Festival 2015, this intriguing new work brings together the combined talents of choreographer and director Wayne McGregor, from Stockport, visual artist Olafur Eliasson and Mercury Prize-winning producer/composer Jamie xx.

The result is a triumph which brought an immediate standing ovation with the cheers still ringing in my ears.

I've long been a fan of dancer turned choreographer McGregor. He's won rave reviews for blending the disciplines of contemporary dance with classical ballet rising to become resident choreographer for the Royal Ballet as well as creating works for his own company.

For this production some of the soloists and dancers are from The Paris Opera Ballet, acknowledged as one of the best in Europe, who perform alongside Company Wayne McGregor.

The combined performances are quite electrifying with the bonus of delightful little vignettes.

The inspiration for this powerful work is convoluted. Based on the book, Tree of Codes, by Jonathan Safran Foer, it's literally carved from the text of Bruno Schulz' Street of Crocodiles with words and phrases cut from the pages to produce an entirely different story.

McGregor has given himself the Herculean task of trying to harness a vision which breaks boundaries, and translate thoughts and imagination into movement, which is still bound by physical limitations. You have to admire his courage.

The terrific creative team has set the bar high by working over the last two years to make a contemporary ballet that responds to a remarkable work.

McGregor has tried to capture what he describes as a post- apocalyptic experience - so out of the darkness, pin-points of light dance to a pounding beat.

When the near-naked dancers appear, their almost sculptural movements, plus the audience, are mirrored in a series of fractured surfaces.

The choreography is challenging with superb lifts and clever counterbalancing. Credit also has to go to Rob Halliday's lighting realisation and Nick Sagar's sound design.

The good news is you don't have to have read either of the books to appreciate this visual feast lasting eighty minutes. Fight for a ticket for this stunning ensemble production. Natalie Anglesey? Tree of Codes is at the Opera House until 10 July before it transfers to New York.

MIFREVIEW bjork castlefield bowl IN characteristically bizarre costume - dressed as a dayglo butterfly with her face and head cloaked in a near-superhero style mask - Bjork returns to Manchester International Festival with another visual feast.

It's not a perfect setting. …

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