Strawberry Cream and Gunpowder

Katie Phillips

As the title suggests, this is a work of opposites. Presented as part of DASH05, a season bringing a new generation of Jewish artists to London, the performance veers between grief and frivolity, mania and fear.

A scene from Strawberry Cream and Gunpowder by Yasmeen Godder at The Place, London
Photo: Tristram Kenton
Godder lets us into the relationship between the person staring down the barrel of a gun and the person pulling the trigger. The action is freeze-framed at crucial moments – someone being shot, someone screaming, someone lying dead at their feet and someone trying to escape.

A barrier goes up and down at the side of the stage and a pipe whips round representing the cyclical motion of events as seen by Godder. In her onstage world there are still people laughing, still people getting shot and still people crying. There are still children trying to be children and grown-ups trying not to make the decisions forced upon them. Everyone is the victim, everyone the victimizer.

Godder has a canny knack for the physical portrayal of this and sees that there is still a dark, comic and absurd side to life.

The ending is perhaps the cleverest part and stuns in its ability to leave audiences more unsettled as they walk out of the auditorium than at any other point during the piece. A young girl tries to revive a dead boy, wrapping herself in his arms and trying to pull him onto her back. She sobs quietly as the other performers take their bows and the audience claps. No-one knows how to react. We are celebrating a performance as this real display of raw emotion is ongoing. It is a heartbreaking and hard-hitting ending to an excellent piece of dance theatre by this young Israeli choreographer.