By Rachel Gildea.

‘How freeing to be able to physicalise all those complicated feelings through dance’ (Jeremy Spafford)

In The Genes showed how the language of dance has the ability to express the complexities of the parent-child relationship which is marked by conflict as well as intense love.

Three duets boldly performed an exploration of the father/son or mother/daughter relationship, uninhibited by the limitations of spoken word.

Jeremy and Joss, Richard and Tom, Cecilia and Emily articulated the theme of who looks after whom in the relationship as time passes. In the first two duets, the failing power of the father was portrayed in an amusing, self-deprecating fashion. Both dads could do little to hide their frailties, suffering from ‘achy knees’ and ‘bad backs’. Jeremy needed the support and relief of a chair while Richard had to be bandaged up and ultimately carried off stage at the end by his son, Tom. Resigning themselves to the vitality of their sons, Richard reflected (in the post-show talk) on this project as a realisation that ‘this is where I hand over’. The rivalry was different with dancer Cecilia and musician Emily as each found their own medium in which to shine side by side.

The final moment of Cecilia drawing a chalk circle on the stage until blackout held lasting significance. Whilst the shape itself symbolised the circle of life and the wholeness and fullness of family love; the tender action of drawing the circle suggested the continuity and constancy of the parent-child bond.

In the Genes (Pegasus Theatre, Saturday 21st February 2009)

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