Review by Sarah McKenna Barry
Liz Roche presents Nӓher…Closer, Nearer, Sooner at the Goethe-Institut as part of the Dublin Fringe Festival. The site-specific performance was commissioned to celebrate the opening of the German cultural centre’s new building on Merrion Square. The company fills the beautifully refurbished centre’s echoey halls and high ceilings with pure joy and laughter, as well as melancholic nostalgia.
Choreographer Liz Roche developed the piece in partnership with theater maker Shane O’Reilly, and Nӓher…Closer, Nearer, Sooner succeeds in marrying thoughtful contemporary dance with measured and precise theatricality. Roche and O’Reilly enveloped W.B. Yeats and Goethe within the rich dramaturgy of their piece, and the result is a refreshingly dreamy trip around the Merrion Square townhouse.
Nӓher is brought to life through its quartet of exciting dancers: Finola Cronin, Kevin Coquelard, Anne-Laure Dogot and Henry Montes. The ensemble comes together to share a chemistry that is touchingly familiar.
Nӓher’s highlight is the way in which dancers from Dublin Youth Dance Company are incorporated into the performance. A cast of eleven dancers join the company for Nӓher, and the young dancers hold their own against a cast of seasoned pros, as they bring a distinct light and energy, as well as sheer talent to the Georgian house. Their sequence is hauntingly illuminated through the piece’s sound and costume design by Roy Carroll and Catherine Fay, respectively.
Ultimately, Nӓher marries architecture and dance into a stunning narrative that invites its audience to dream backwards.
Nӓher…Closer, Nearer, Sooner runs at the Goethe-Institut on Merrion Square from the 20th to the 23rd of September.