SOFT MURDERS VENUE 13 (VENUE 13)
A CHALLENGING work only to those who aren't 21st century enough to realise that men can kiss other men, this triptych of dance-based performance theatre still pays an almost obsessive level of attention to the male physique, whether naked or clothed. Still, that fits with the subject matter – each segment is based on the biography and work of a different homosexual artist. While the visualisation of these characters isn't explicit, it is frank.
We begin with 2Ps No Pod, which sees two performers dressed as Gilbert and George, at first intertwined with each other, then moving with a synchronised see-sawing effect through the piece. In the background, two handsome young men in matching lilac underwear (possibly ciphers for the artists' sexuality) caress each other and then join the silent dance.
Then Multiples brings us Andy Warhol, or at least the amusing sight of four male cast members dragging up and emulating the pneumatic strut of Grace Jones and the fan-assisted coyness of Marilyn Monroe as Warhol saw them.
While these pieces are affectionately amusing and tenderly precise in their physicality, the last segment – Soft Murder, paraphrasing Susan Sontag – intimates sex as violence and vice versa, strongly articulating Francis Bacon's masochistic and ultimately fatal relationship with East End gangster George Dyer as a Hydra of flailing, tortured, exposed masculinity.
Until 15 August. Today 4:15pm.