Preview: DV8 Physical Theatre – JOHN

When I worked in the theatre, oh so many years ago when I was an angry young man, not a miserable old sod like I am now, there was one name in avant garde theatre that filled you with awe:ย DV8.

Far from the glitzy, nicey-nice singing, big blockbuster musicals that spawned over the West End, trolling for tourists’ pounds, DV8 perfected a form of theatre so aggressively unapologetic in its execution that it took your breath away. Physical Theatre doesn’t get any better than this. Is it dance that they do or movement? Or an incredibly complex melding of the two? It’s hard to know, so seamless is the result.resized_2.DV8_Performers_Andi_Xhuma_Ian_Garside_Photographer_Kris_Rozental

DV8 are back in Blackpool. It’s hard to believe that the company I once walked five miles, and missed three days’ food, to have enough money to see in London are regular(ish) visitors to the Grand Theatre. DV8’s Dead Dreams Of Monochrome Men is, for me, the highest point of Post War British Theatre and far from resting on those laurels the company simply carried on with show after show of incredible potency. Nigel Charnock’s Hellbound was one of the most searing works ever to grace the Grand’s stage a few years back and their new show JOHN by DV8 promises to be just as impressive.

The content of DV8, steered ably as ever by Lloyd Newson is often based around relationships, homosexuality and the physicality of love so it can be controversial, touching, beautiful, and ugly but always startling and, above all, honest.

JOHN is the result of DV8 interviewing dozens of men to find stories of love and life. The story they found in JOHN promises to be one of addiction, crime and collision with other people that leads to an inevitable convergence in an unexpected place, unknown by most.resized_1.DV8_Performer_Andi_Xhuma_Photographer__Kris_Rozental_0515

I’m often accused of being too nice or neutral about things in my reviews but for once I’m coming off the fence and saying DV8 are the best at what they do in the world. We are lucky to have this opportunity to see them in Blackpool and if you wish to be confronted, challenged and astounded by their theatrical head-butt get your tickets now.


JOHN is showing Thursday 12 to Friday 13 March at the Grand Theatre. Tickets cost from ยฃ13.50 and can be booked at the box office, by phoning 01253 290190 or online via the website.

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