Riverside Theatres, June 1
In the printed program for RED, there are eight online links to endometriosis – a condition that affects a woman's reproductive organs – and organisations that can help those who suffer from it.
So you have to think the reason you might spend an hour in a theatre watching and listening to a solo performer dancing and talking her way through a serious medical condition has its basis in easing the mental and physical pain for others.
Liz Lea has always been very particular about her subjects for making dance pieces, but RED goes further than any others I have seen, describing her own experience with endometriosis.
There are lots of words, both from her on stage and a male voice-over as a doctor. The medical and personal detail was stomach-churning for me, though many in the audience laughed and murmured in sympathy.
And to give her credit, Lea does manage to squeeze some humour out of her situation.
The dance, mostly choreographed by herself with additional material by Vicki van Hout, Virginia Ferris and Martin del Amo, often has her in glamorous red gowns on video, wafting meditatively beside the sea, in and on water.
On stage, she dances at first frenetically – one imagines in reaction to her diagnosis, reflecting anger and hurt but never giving up. Then she goes through a show dance stage: all high heels and high kicks, red feathers and waving fans. But also grimaces: a guess that it is not her style and she was probably in pain at the time.
Briefly, a glorious "chorus line" of 12 grey-haired women teams up with her for a rather wobbly but engaging appearance. Fellow sufferers, perhaps. And maybe her support team, along with two sympathetic male performers.
Production values are high, with a large team of creatives, and the action flows smoothly to well-chosen recorded music ranging from Gluck to the Rolling Stones to an original score by Alexander Hunter.
In the end, Lea is alone on stage in a subtle solo: feet still, body twisting, arms and hands eloquent in their exploration of the space around her.
It is the most interesting and evocative dance all evening, and I hope it signifies her recovery with its beautiful sense of calm and hope.
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