Dance review: Dilemma
Edinburgh Fringe Scotsman review: Dilemma at Hill Street Theatre (Venue 41), reviewed by Kelly Apter
If the eyes are the gateway to the soul, then it is testament to Olga Kosterina’s ability to convey emotion that she performs much of this stunning solo work wearing a blindfold.
For her Fringe debut, the Russian-born performer set out to create what she calls “a solo journey along the path of life” – a piece that would capture a range of human experiences, from basic survival through to feeling victorious, with a sense of growth along the way. Dilemma is the result, and all of this and more shines through.
A trained ballerina, champion gymnast and circus artiste, Kosterina has a lot of strings to her bow. But in the name of subtlety and gravitas, all sense of showmanship has been pushed to one side, until shortly before the end when two gymnastic ribbons come out.
Prior to that, it’s all about the movement. Sharing the stage with two pieces of material – one white, one black – fanned out expectantly, she moves through the space. Standing with one leg high in the air, Kosterina is solid as a rock – each move as precise as the last.
Dressed in a flesh-covered ruched leotard, her eyes covered by a black band, she picks up the long, flowing black skirt and puts it on. As the pace quickens, and she starts to turn, it is as if a whirling dervish has entered the room.
Then, wrapped in a white scarf, she twirls two S-shaped plastic wands like a sophisticated majorette. All the while her eyes are hidden, until a moment of exuberance when the blindfold is ripped off and Kosterina’s entire demeanour changes. A soft smile springs from her lips and life has clearly taken a turn for the better.
Few dancers can hold an audience for an entire 60-minute solo, without some desire for new recruits kicking in – but Kosterina can. Dilemma is a display of thoughtful, emotionally intense and technically excellent dance, that had the woman sitting behind me whispering “wow” under her breath after the closing moments. Wow indeed.
MORE INFO: Dilemma is at Hill Street Theatre
Originally published in The Scotsman