Dance review: Everything must go

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IN MODERN Western society, deaths are usually marked in the same formulaic way – a funeral followed by some sort of wake – and unless the deceased was particularly famous, these events typically take place in private. But just because this is the traditional format, it doesn't necessarily follow that it's the only one, or indeed the most cathartic one. Why not pay tribute to a loved one on stage, night after night, in front of a roomful of strangers?

Kristin Fredricksson does just that in this one-woman show, remembering her father, Karl, in a way that's as moving as any funeral I've ever been to. Sitting towards the front of the theatre, I couldn't see how most of the audience reacted to the gut-wrenching final scene. But I didn't need to see: I could hear them sobbing. When I got up to leave I scanned the house for a dry eye, but I couldn't find one anywhere.

Fredricksson Sr died of pancreatic cancer in June, and Everything Must Go… is his daughter's tribute to him – a mixture of dance, physical theatre and home movie footage that brings his story to life in all its quirky detail.

Early on, Fredricksson uses Dutch historian Johan Huizinga's definition of play as "the voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles" as a way of contextualising Karl – a man who seemed to live his entire life as a sort of game.

Born in rather difficult circumstances in Wales in 1930, Fredricksson Sr developed a love of hurdling from an early age; later, he grew to love dance and, as a teacher, taught it to the boys in his PE class – to the chagrin of the school's homophobic headmaster.

Even as an old man living alone, the urge to play was still there, manifesting itself in little eccentricities, like seeing how low he could get his water bills by stealing water from the local library or trying to grow the perfect lawn.

Fredricksson evokes her father so vividly and unsentimentally that by the end you feel like you know him; and for a moment or two, after the stage has gone black, you'll grieve his passing as if he were an old friend.


Until 31 August. Today 5:45pm.