The Playgoer: Dancing Pinter

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Dancing Pinter

What does it say that the most interesting theatre critic at the Times these days is turning out to be the Dance critic?

Alistair Macaulay wowed me last month with a uniquely insightful take on Billy Elliot, and today he offers one of the most original Pinter postmortems so far. It's on how the playwright's creation of haunting silent tableaux, his idiosyncratic manipulation of bodies on stage, contributed as much to the Pinter magic as the language. Another reminder that theatre--as an artform involving live people in space--is essentially dance, and vice versa.

The fact that Macaulay's a Brit does inform both these columns about British theatre. But what also stands out is some downright intellectual curiosity and rigor, as well as venturing to think in categories beyond the obvious.

I guess such intelligence is valued more in dance journalism since (like the visual arts) it is has always been considered high art in this country. Unlike theatre, still associated with chorus girls and carnival barkers.

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