The astonishing Hannes Langolf, who plays John (by Hugo Glendinning)
DV8 Physical Theatre’s new show, which has recently opened at the National Theatre is the company’s latest verbatim dance-theatre performance, but instead of using several stories of real-life people as portrayed in their previous work ‘Can We Talk About This?’ this work follows only one story.
After interviewing more than 50 men about their love and sex life, Lloyd Newson, the artistic director of DV8 decided his new piece would be a personal perspective of one man’s story: John.
In a simple but effective set, the cast constantly switches roles to help portray the roller-coaster life of a man marked by abusive parents, drugs, crime, homelessness, prion, loneliness and love. The only actor/dancer to remain in the same role throughout the performance is the astonishing Hannes Langolf, who plays John.
There is on other word to describe Langolf’s work but brilliant! He is absolutely in control of his movements, voice and energy and even though he embodies a troubled man with a dark life, he delivers a performance full of humour and humanity.
"The intense and intelligent movements makes it a performance worth watching, especially to see Langolf's remarkable work on stage"
However, the talented cast and the great story aren’t enough to save the performance from moments of predictability and certain boredom, especially when John is released form prison and his six life resumes to a gay sauna. This is the moment where John’s story blends with the story of so many other lonely “Johns” seeking “love”. The scene extends itself to a point where the movements become predictable and we have a feeling of seeing the same thing over and over again.
Even though “John” is not DV8’s most brilliant work and it lacks freshness, the aesthetics of the intense and intelligent movements that helped raise the company to fame, still makes it a performance worth watching, especially to see Langolf's remarkable work on stage.
While Brazil is still not in the touring programme of “John”, the Brazilian audience living or visiting London until the 13th of January 2015 should take this opportunity to see a good piece of theatre off the west end main stream musicals.