Review: Company Chameleon @ The Lowry, Salford

Company Chameleon celebrated their 10th anniversary with a stunning triple bill show last Friday at The Lowry Theatre, showing three pieces of emotional, riveting and jaw dropping dance.

Anthony Missen and Kevin Edward Turner do it again: they manage to hold the audience to attention, take them on an impassioned journey through a selection of engaging stories, and then, at the end, leave them feeling speechless and in awe, questioning when they can come back for more.

After getting a taste a few weeks prior, MM was blown away by the outstanding performance which is only more refined, more empowering and more compelling than the practice runs.

The additional effects of the lighting, smoke machines and amplified soundtracks emphasised the greatness of the athletic contemporary dance.

Maddie Shimwell, the female dancer in the first act, blew the stage away with her solo act. Fighting her inner demons of love, loss and pain in an extraordinary display of movement, she uses such passion, energy and expression to lure every audience member into experiencing all she is portraying.

The story line of the dance, Imprint, is about relationships, love and romance, and focuses on the imprint they leave behind us.

She told MM: “During the creation of Imprint Kevin, David and I shared our own examples of how past relationships have affected us.

“All three of us relate to the piece slightly differently depending on our own personal experiences which brings about the different energies and emotions when we perform.”

Her male counterparts, co-director Turner and David Colley, combined the intensity, drive and passion of the piece which helped it resonate with the audience even more.

Trip, the solo directed by co-director Missen, was performed by Theo Fapohunda.

The crowd were in stitches at his mix of contemporary theatre and dance, and his character combined with his strength tied this piece based on the dark arena of self-deception together extremely well.

The third and final piece was the most outstanding of them all. Rites was the first major piece of work made by the company in 2007.

It is a male duet about growing up on the journey from boyhood to manhood, all the while facing the trials and tribulations one endures when discovering what it means to be a man.

This absolute blast of energy performance had several stories entwined into one. Performed by co-director Kevin and dancer Theo, it was a mixture of different time frames within a man’s life.

The exploration of family, friendship, popularity, trust, confusion and hardships were all brought to light within this 40 minute dance and one could tell the storyline of each “sub scene” and feel what the characters were feeling while they were growing, and testing and trying life.

A set of props lay still in the background, always connecting the men to their childhood, along with a red ballon, holding symbolism for what could be the memories and nostalgia a man holds to his past.

The expressions, movements and way the dancers held the audience had them roaring in applause at the end.

It was a ride with so many intense emotions, and the thoughts that played on one’s mind during the dance were only subsided when the speechless onlookers had to leave at the end.

One member of the audience even said to MM: “What I like about them the most is how humble they are. I don’t think they actually realise just how good they are.”

The dance company continue to tour this production around the UK for the first time and are sure to bring a great production not to be missed out on.

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