John Berkavitch brings together the worlds of storytelling, visualisations and breakdancing for ‘Shame’, his new piece exploring his own actions that left him feeling ashamed.
Expecting a rip-roaring breakdancing extravaganza with dancers moving to the pulsating sounds of thumping music, it was disappointing to find Shame was little more than Berkavitch chatting his way through his story with brief forays into breakdancing.
It wasn’t the intense drama that one had hoped to see.
But there was real skill in the piece too. In one scene, Berkavitch ran a coffee shop and the bodies of three breakdancers were transformed into a human coffee machine. He served audience members imaginary lattes and cappuccinos, moving arms and legs for the various parts of the machine. It was ingenious choreography, if a little laboured after a while.
There was a good tale in there exploring Berkavitch’s own story, harking back to a six-year-old self but there was perhaps too much talk and too little action.
Still, that did not stop a packed Guildhall audience from stomping their feet and hooting with delight.
For me what was more special was the group of Gloucester men and boys who worked on a five-minute piece prior to Shame, using rapping and breakdancing skills to tell a message of pride. There was something quite moving about seeing these grown men and teenage boys, working so closely together, like a brotherhood, to share their intimate feelings in a message of peace.