Butoh Beethoven

In a piece that is at times frightening, at times energising and constantly absorbing, solo-performer Vangeline is our white-collared conductor, guiding us through a piece which abstractly explores the work and legacy of Beethoven and Tatsumi Hijikata, the founder of butoh. Using subtle and raw choreography, brilliant accompaniment and the power of her presence, Vangeline succeeds in bringing an essence of these iconic individuals to life on stage.

One of the highlights of the piece is when Vangeline’s shadow is dancing with her, its flickering form mirroring her intricate movements

The show enthrals from start to finish. Vangeline’s performance is deeply engrossing and demands attention. Even as she stands on stage in almost total darkness, the tension created pulls our focus towards her, leaving us waiting with bated breath for the next glimpse of her movement. From her endlessly expressive face to her masterful pace control, with commanding stillness interspersed with moments of high energy, the choreography is powerful yet simple.

The show has been impeccably designed, and works really well in the space. The presence or absence of light adds a second dimension to the piece. One of the highlights of the piece is when Vangeline’s shadow is dancing with her, its flickering form mirroring her intricate movements. 

Music, words and sounds wash over the audience and guide the performance along though the sections, providing both a structure for the piece as a whole and a deeply immersive sensory overload. Vangeline has a real feel for the accompaniment, whether it is Beethoven’s fifth or the sound of the ocean incessantly crashing in the distance. However, the symbolism behind a dress made from white-collared shirts and the audience of pigs is arguable.

Reviews by M Johnson

Old Fire Station - Cafe

An Intervention

★★★
M6 Theatre Company

Little Gift

★★★
Assembly Roxy

Thor and Loki

★★★
Paradise in The Vault

Quines

★★★★
Gilded Balloon Teviot

Grace

★★
Summerhall

Status

★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

European premiere. New York butoh star Vangeline conjures ghosts of two passionate giants – founder of butoh Tatsumi Hijikata and composer Ludwig van Beethoven – in this hypnotic, electrifying and award-winning solo performance. ‘Bone-chilling’, Best Dance 2011 (Time Out Chicago). ‘Transfixing’ Best of 2011 (TheatreInLA.com). 'Grotesquerie and ecstasy … captivating in her devotion to simple movements' (NY Times). ‘A cross between a goth crone and a kabuki’ (StageAndCinema.com). Vangeline's costume is created by New York designer Todd Thomas (Katy Perry Prismatic Tour), inspired by Hijikata's 1968 costume for his final solo performance.

Most Popular See More

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

From £13.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £31.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

SIX

From £29.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets