overflow dancers


Birmingham Hippodrome Patrick Studio


Formulated by our fears and vulnerabilities to exist with ever increasing digital followers and technological advances post-pandemic, the Alexander Whitley Dance Company brings Overflow to the Patrick Studio at Birmingham Hippodrome this week. “I like and they will like, I mean it’s like when.”

The atmosphere was unnerving through the haze as masked dancers reacted to music by River Consoles starting with a nod of the head to an almost unearthly sequence of movement under a throbbing light installation by Children of the Light.

The duo of Amsterdam-based visual artists emulated Ridley Scott’s dystopian sci-fi film Bladerunner, which was in turn a translation of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, written by Philip K Dick.


The opening track Monster by River Consoles is terrifying and repetitive in construct to reflect how we humans engage with social media in our addictions to platforms and scrolling. Their music was featured on Netflix series Black Mirror, which is about near-future dystopias using science fiction technology.

Fully immersive in the chaotic data fields, with an ever increasing sense of losing control, were dancers, Chia-Yu Hsu, Jack Thomson, Ena Yamaguchi, Stephen Quildan and Yu-Hsien Wu.

With a mixture of solo and group dances, limbs seemed to extend as if not a part of them anymore, or that control of their own movements was compromised along with individual thoughts, losing identity to endless streaming and consumerism.

As the biometric facemasks are removed, designed by Ana Rajcevic, and the dancers are laid bare, an unnerving searchlight hunts for prey as the all-seeing eye tracks and devours all our secrets and information. Will young and old generations embrace robotic advancements racing at breakneck speeds or will there be a reprise for modern life to survive?

Overflow left me feeling on edge with worry embedded in my very core, cleverly created by artistic director and choreographer Alexander Whitley with the help of light designer Guy Hoare, creative technologist Luca Biada and dramaturg Sasha Milavic Davies.

Seventy minutes of tension give it a horror movie feel to test your nerves but leaves you wanting more.

After DanceXchange, Overflow heads to Saffron Hall, Saffron Walden, on March 5th. For more information head to www.alexanderwhitley.com

Emma Trimble


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