Review: Deborah Colker: Cruel ****

First off, bravo Bradford for persevering with this work.

The management of the theatre is bound to look at a theatre half-empty. I saw a theatre half-full, with an audience willing to take a risk on contemporary dance.

The Dance Consortium has been working to bring this medium to British audiences since the turn of the century, and that this kind of work is seen outside London is fantastic.

Brazilian Deborah Colker is one of the world's leading choreographers. Cruel, presented in two acts, is at times a fantastic beast and at others a thing of beauty.

The stunning images created with bodies in motion in the first act are breathtaking and, contrary to the image dance sometimes has, fantastically accessible.

The first act sees the company wittily deconstruct a classic dance, complete with resplendent ball gowns. This gives way to a much more feral piece, when the dancers shed their gowns to perform over, under, on and around a huge white table.

The design is reminiscent of Anish Kapoor's work, and the second act features huge mirrors, inventively used with round windows through which the dancers emerge.

Colker is clearly fascinated by the shapes bodies can make when playfully working with the mirrors, but it lacks the substance of the first act.

Overall an impressive piece and a fitting continuation of Bradford's commitment to this type of theatre.

Alhambra Theatre, Bradford