Thursday, February 29

Me, Myself and Micha – Leeds Playhouse

When Brazilian dancer and choreographer Ana Silverio realised she was pregnant she began to make detailed notes to make a piece out of her nine month journey.

Silverio who had worked across Europe initially thought this was going to be performed by three dancers after presenting an initial 10 minute work in progress during a scratch session as part of the Playhouse’s Furnace Festival she realised it was a solo show.

Furnace is the engine room that supports new and more established artists like Silverio with space to create new work, as well allowing them to tap into the Playhouse’s vast reservoir of creative and technical expertise.

Usually for Furnace which was cancelled last year due to the virus this is staged as a fully realised forty-minute piece that begins with a beautifully realised section as Silverio does the splits under a chair to represent the difficulties of getting into our country and her joy in starting a PhD.

Once she confirms she is pregnant the middle section explores the idea of ‘me ‘ becoming ‘myself’ as precise choreography and facial expressions trace the huge physical and mental changes this focused artist is undergoing.

There is something joyous, and occasionally sad, in her movements as she leaps, tumbles and glides around the bare Bramall Rock Void studio space to a varied soundtrack she devised with composer Ben Eyes, accentuated by sensitive lighting design from Kelli Zezulka.

There is a beautifully danced section using exercise bands as Silverio mimics the leads she was advised to use in the later stages of her pregnancy.  Silverio unravels a tube of white cloth to recreate her son Misha’s birth, which could have gone very wrong, but was genuinely moving as the piece completes.

There’s one lovely touch at the end as little Misha comes onstage to present flowers to his exhausted mother. But perhaps a better gift would be some funding so Silverio can tour this powerful and perceptive meditation on and downs of pregnancy.

Reviewer: Paul Clarke

Reviewed: 12th November 2021

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★