Jonathan Burrows
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Retrospective Glasgow
Glasgow Herald, 25th and 26th April, 2015
Jonathan Burrows/Matteo Fargion, DIG Festival, Tramway, Glasgow

FIVE STARS

How magic is it, when two men - standing still at mic-stands - make words dance in your ears, your thoughts and occasionally before your eyes,like mischievous pop-ups in a rogue power-point presentation? Jonathan Burrows and Matteo Fargion do that, and more, in Cheap Lecture before adding to the merriment, sly provocations and rhythmic exuberance with more games-play in The Cow Piece.

The duo's first programme at Dance International Glasgow had, as it were, been hands-on with rhythm. A meticulously sculpted vocabulary of (mostly hand/arm) movements carved out patterns in the air: rhythmic interplay became visible, body language told jokes without words. Words, however, were to the fore in Cheap Lecture, a wily take on John Cage's Lecture on Nothing. His riffing on nothing inspired Burrows and Fargion to compose - choreograph? - an adventure in text that echoes musical structures, plays with counterpoint (of thought as well of delivery) and filters in nods to concrete poetry, Gertrude Stein and the Marx Brothers.There is serious intellectual matter, however, in their cunning drollery. Demonstrating the nature of rhythm - its ubiquity in life, in music, in movement, in speech - spins them, and us, into reflections on time and space, theatricality (which can subvert both) and the 'boom! boom! boom! - yeah, yeah' exhilaration when something extraordinarily brilliant is conjured out of nothing.

Two men, two tables - six plastic cows on each - and again, the quirks of English eccentricity marry up with European tendencies to weave philosophical musings into everything, including mime. Oh what larks! Fargion and Burrows translate life as we know it - love, war, tragedy and power shifts - into the fall of a toy animal, and it's pure, laugh-out-loud, genius. We need them back, soon.

Mary Brennan
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