Belgian theater troupe stages a busy, sometimes boring "Orgy"
"Orgy of Tolerance," a Euro-stomp howl against the sins of a bespoiled Western Civilization by Jan Fabre and Troubleyn, plays through May 17 at On the Boards in Seattle. A review by Seattle Times theater critic Misha Berson.
Seattle Times theater critic
"Orgy of Tolerance"By Jan Fabre and Troubleyn, through Sunday, On the Boards, 100 W. Roy St., Seattle; $24 (www.ontheboards.org or 206-217-9888).
Some striking, inspired moments in "Orgy of Tolerance" are as follows.
A chorus line of big, shiny shopping carts swirl to the "The Blue Danube Waltz."
Tautly muscular performers gyrate frenetically, each isolated in a pool of light. Now and again another dancer twirls and leaps across the stage, like a balletic bird soaring across a battlefield.
There are other memorable bits from Belgian stage auteur Jan Fabre and his agile, fearless troupe Troubleyn, making their Seattle debut at On the Boards.
But much of the show can't be described in a G-rated newspaper. And between the high points are patches of ham-fisted, R-rated tedium.
As an unfettered (sometimes unclothed) Euro-stomp howl against the sins of a bespoiled Western Civilization, this "Orgy" is certainly impassioned. And who can argue with the Belgium-based Fabre that war stinks, bigotry bites, pornography dehumanizes and ultra-consumerism turns our souls into, well, shopping carts?
Or, in one of the funnier bits, a large purse someone has sex with?
But such tactics as using erotic toys as masks (a la "Clockwork Orange"), spewing racist insults, evoking the Ku Klux Klan and Abu Ghraib, and saddling an ignored Christ figure with a heavy cross, are stale and unshocking in 2009.
The show does open with a long mock-Olympics of auto-eroticism. And there are a few gross-out stunts, involving the private parts of some extremely dedicated performers. (These best left to your imagination.)
Let's be clear, though: "Orgy of Tolerance" is a morality play that decries our obsessions with sex and shopping.
But this manifesto gets far more interesting toward the end, when the bombastic script (mostly in English) gives way to exhilarating, spasmodic dancing, vividly lit and underscored with kick-butt elecro-rock.
That's when the performers reveal themselves as terrific dancers and Fabre as an eloquent, exciting choreographer.
Misha Berson: firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
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