Arts and Culture

Virago, Old Rep Theatre

I am always curious about dance productions, especially when they are a little unusual. I went to see Virago, a solo production from Sonia Sabri, which certainly fits the bill.

Virago by Sonia Sabri Company

Virago is a unique experience, combining dance with spoken word, music, video projection and a diverse mix of cultural references. In Latin, Virago means ‘female warrior’, and this production explores the contradictions of female existence.

The show encompasses the highs and lows of womanhood, ranging from Sabri dancing joyfully to a lyric declaring ‘I am woman, I am strong’, to Sabri cowering in despair as spoken word clips declare her a disappointment, brand her unnatural as a single woman or reprimand her for failing to maintain society’s beauty standards.

The use of light and video gives the piece a surreal, almost dreamlike quality, and Sabri leads you from one emotion to the next at a breakneck speed. There is no room in this show to sit back and just admire the beautiful dancing (although it is beautiful), as you’re too busy being pulled into the situations represented. Voice clips include pieces of interviews conducted with many women, bringing in voices from Europe, Africa, South Asia and the Middle East. The jarring experience of being female is universal, this production makes clear.

It is hard to ‘enjoy’ a piece themed on such emotive subject matter, but this work is moving, and interesting, and I guarantee you’ll leave the theatre discussing what it all meant.

I was given a press pass to attend this performance, in exchange for honest review. All words and opinions are my own. 

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