Thursday, June 20

Metamorphosis – Lyric Theatre

Dating in your 30s is *hard*, if for no other reason than you’re just busier than you were in your 20s. And so it came to pass that I invited the guy I’ve recently started seeing to join me at Monday’s production of Metamorphosis. This was risky, but schedules dictated that it was the only viable option, and you can tell a lot about someone by the way they respond to dance theatre, right…?

I say this because going into the performance I really wasn’t sure what to expect, and Maria Caruso’s solo production will not be everyone’s cup of tea. Indeed, it wouldn’t traditionally be mine, but I found last night’s performance so moving and relatable that I’ve been mulling it over all day, examining the work from different perspectives and having an indulgent bit of navel gazing along the way. It has reminded me that the arts can entertain and educate in many different and surprising ways and I’m glad that I not only stepped out of my comfort zone but was able to take someone else along for the ride.

Caruso begins crumpled on the floor – we witness her ‘birth’ and follow her as she transitions through a series of… Lives? Emotions? Personas? Experiences? It could be all of the above, or none of them, and it doesn’t really matter – metamorphosis is change, after all, and however one wishes to interpret that will come down to each individual. Caruso’s performance is incredibly powerful, I found myself absolutely transfixed by her strength and movement.

Photo: Jeronimo Gomes

There is an effortlessness to her portrayal of being out of control which belies the fact that dance and ballet require absolute control and precision at all times. We step through her emotions with her – at times tormented, at times blissfully at peace, always able to find her way back to herself, reset and reform. She is aided only by fabric throughout the performance, and the lightness of the costume and props and sparsity of the staging add to the grace and flow of the piece.

By the end, Caruso has transformed, and having been a very willing passenger on her journey I found myself reflecting on my own journey, or journeys, and engaging in a fairly animated conversation about the different interpretations that could be applied. As I said, it won’t be for everyone – I overheard more than one “I didn’t get it” conversation on the way out of the theatre – but I also said that it wouldn’t typically be my bag, and I was moved to tears, so maybe this does have broader appeal than the description might suggest.

It couldn’t be called an easy watch by any stretch, but this was a raw, powerful and expressive performance which is an absolute feat of strength and athleticism. I’ll follow Caruso with interest as I’d be fascinated to see more of her work. And it turned out to be a pretty good date night option after all too. Overall, definitely an experience that will stay with me and one that I’m very grateful to have had.

Reviewer: Zoë Meeres

Reviewed: 27th June 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★