Stichprobe: Matthew Bournes «Play Without Words»
Matthew Bourne’s “Play Without Words,” a wordless translation into dance-theater of the 1963 Joseph Losey-Harold Pinter movie, “The Servant,” is funny, charming, suave, and formally quite engaging. I write this as someone who was no fan of Bourne’s “Swan Lake,” that international hit, with its hateful or ninnyish portraits of women, has balefully affected subsequent productions of the ballet around the world, to the detriment of Tchaikovsky, Petipa, Ivanov, and an entire generation of dancers and audiences.
It didn’t stimulate an interest in what it cannibalized; it cleared ballerinas from the boards.
With a film, however, one needn’t worry that the subject’s very identity will suffer a sea change owing to a theatrical revision. And “The Servant” is a perfect focus for Bourne’s gifts and appetites as a dance-based director. Its settings (upper and working-class London in the early 1960’s), its period fashions reproduced with spectacular fidelity by Bourne’s designer, Lez Brotherston and its manners, especially those for flirtation and sexual foreplay, offer Bourne and his creative team countless opportunities to contrast a range of erotic inclinations and shades of repression ...