6th February 2014
Robin Howard Theatre
The Place, London
A window into the lives of four long-lived women is how Ieva Kuniskis’s most recent choreographic masterpiece can be described. Though with a similar quirk to her previous work Gone to Get Milk (plant pots, torn paper and hair washing replace oranges for instance), Women’s Tales seems to have much more depth and heart to it; a heaviness that lurks but that doesn’t depress.
Perched on a bench, Rachel Burn is the first to begin unraveling her story. Repetitively tangled in her long, finely tuned, slightly double jointed (?) arms, she seems ever so slightly retained; helpless to the point that even hearty Helen Aschauer insists on bathing her long locks for her.
Padurariu Andreea, (the actress among the group) on the contrary, seems somewhat content in her world. On a chair in the background she sits for much of the piece tearing up paper, a metaphor maybe for something or someone that’s better off forgotten. And then as she leaves the chair and begins an enticing interaction, the window is removed from its frame and she draws us in a little closer.
Victoria Winter is an intriguing one, placid and secretive but her subtleness speaks volumes. And if they were playing the dysfunctional family that at times they look like they could well be, then Helen would be the older sister- troubled and feisty.
Kuniskis has created a collage of pure satisfaction. Each story insightfully presented, and overlapped with such perfection that there are some real moments of magic. An array of earthly toned, simple dresses and skirts adds a dated feel to this small cluster of women, and the Lithuanian folk music which in part they come to sing, a real sense of community.
Women’s Tales is a great piece of theatre, simple, well constructed and relatable, but with still enough mystery to allow us to ponder.