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SCENE IT: Masterful cradle-to-grave exploration in evocative SET IN MOTION

Maria Kearns


Dance collective Figure of 8’s latest production, Set in Motion, explores the various forces that act on a person throughout their life.

Under the direction of Grant van Ster, dancers Shaun Oelf, Ockert Prins, André Maarman, and Lisakhanya Nongqongqo tackle this theme with unwavering physical and mental commitment.

The dancers’ clear talent and unbridled energy turn what could be seen as a very simple idea into a truly remarkable piece of theatre. In their telling of a familiar cradle-to-grave story, the company finds wonderful moments of comedy, drama, and enlightenment.

The ethereal flights of fancy they indulge in during the narrative are charming and well choreographed, and enable the audience to enter an almost altered state of being before focusing on the more concrete points of the central character’s development.

As we watch love and life course electrically through these four bodies, the dancers’ truly impressive feats of strength and flexibility are never presented as mere spectacle or showcase, but are clearly performed with purpose as part of a very intelligent, cohesive choreography. In tandem with this, Shaun Oelf’s wonderful soundscape, including original music by Franco Prinsloo, sets the scene masterfully.

The dancers’ movements are complemented and contextualised by evocative recorded poetic interludes read by actors. It’s a definite pity that some of Nico Scheepers’ beautiful linking text was inaudible (possibly owing to a sound issue on the night).

The clever set and costumes were designed by Carin Bester, and the ligthing design was done by Andi Colombo.

Don’t miss this production! Talent like this deserves packed houses. Set in Motion will be at the Baxter Theatre until 15 June 2023. Tickets are available through Webtickets.


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