Blurring the boundaries to break down the barriers

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When Gary Clarke, a dance choreographer with his roots very much in Barnsley, is asked to describe his latest show, he doesn’t miss a beat.

“It has a dash of Morecambe and Wise, a hint of Gilbert and George and contains more than a little nod to Francis Bacon,” says Clarke.

Ménage á Trois is, he adds for clarification, a show that blurs the boundaries between dance, theatre, cabaret and variety entertainment. Over the last few years Clarke has built a reputation for producing work which comments on British life and culture.

For the 25th anniversary of the miners’ strike in 2009, he unveiled Coal, inspired by the harsh realities of a working life spent underground and for his latest show he brings three of his earlier pieces back to the stage.

“For some reason over the last five years I’ve tended to produce quite short work,” says Gary. “I was looking back at what I had done and it struck me that it would be good to bring some of these pieces together in one show.”

In Bagofti Clarke, who created the piece with performer Gavin Coward, celebrates the work of artist Francis Bacon, in 2 Men and a Michael the spotlight is shone on a double act forever trapped in an endless routine and in Horsemeat, the disco beats of Erasure are blended with Chopin via the sounds of T-Rex.

“Each piece has a very different feel and it’s important the audience feel relaxed, so we will be offering a few free glasses of sambuca along the way. The dance world can take itself very seriously, but this show is all about breaking down those barriers.”

Ménage à Trois, Barnsley Lamproom Theatre, March 20. 01226 200075, www.barnsleylamproom.com