Six women standing in front of a white wall

Share this article

DANCE & PHYSICAL THEATRE

SIX WOMEN STANDING IN FRONT OF A WHITE WALL

C SOCO (VENUE 348)

THERE are some things in life which unite us all - and the need for touch is one of them. A warm hug, the gentle clasp of a hand or stroke of the hair - gestures which take seconds to perform but can stay with us forever. Touch, and our psychological need for it, lies at the centre of this life-affirming show.

Already a hit in their native Australia, Little Dove Theatre Art blend Japanese Butoh with performance art. The show's title, while factually correct, is only half the story. Six women do indeed stand in front of a white wall, tucked away in a disused basement in C soco. In these humble surroundings, the performers line up behind a sign saying "Please Do Touch".

Dressed in pretty pink frocks, with wild hair and make-up, they are the epitome of vulnerability and longing. The more time that passes, the more angst-ridden the women become. Until finally, somebody in the audience plucks up the courage to comply with the signage.

At the merest stroke of her hand the first woman lights up, and her posture transforms as if a lifeforce has passed through her. Slowly, other members of the audience venture forth, until all six women are in receipt of hugs, strokes and caresses. Such a display of contact between strangers is incredibly moving, and more than one member of the audience (myself included) leaves the theatre wiping away tears.

Makers of performance art often forget when to stop, dragging out their work until you've lost the will to live. At 30 minutes, Six Women Standing In Front Of A White Wall is the perfect length. We are given just enough time to engage with the characters, before the lights go down, maximising the effect.

The underlying message of the show is that in the age of texting and e-mail, human touch is often neglected. This beautiful show reminds us that we must not let that happen.

Until 27 August. Today 1pm and 6pm