32 Rue Vandenbranden is an intense, powerful and beautiful performance. For the first time I left a show hardly able to describe what had happened, and yet I felt emotional and unable to detach from the snowy and disconnected world that was created on stage.
The show was set on a snow-covered mountain top, with a small isolated community living in rickety trailers under a wide-open sky. The cinematic set design and tense soundscape brought the audience into a cold world of loneliness and fear.
The plot took unexpected turns and often left the audience questioning what was real and what was the product of a characters’ imagination. The young lady Carolina for example sees Jos, her lover, having an affair with Marie as she is stood outside their trailer. She becomes mad and frustrated but upon opening the door, finds Jos alone and normal as usual. The audience is left questioning whether the affair only took place in Carolina’s mind, and if the illusion she created was built solely on her distrust and fear of losing Jos. The rest of the community face similar imaginings as their isolated setting forces them to confront their fears. This creative production successfully blurs these lines between what happens in reality and what the cast or the audience believes happens.
In addition to the concept of the production, I was in awe of the well-honed technique and flexibility of the dancers. The performers physically represented their emotional baggage well; Jos carries Carolina wrapped over his shoulders like a backpack, Marie and Kim fight against a howling wind, and Kim and Jung dance with their legs held in the lotus position throughout. Each of the duets was engaging and gripping.
32 Rue Vandenbranden by Peeping Tom is an emotional and visually thrilling piece of dance theatre which is not to be missed!