Babylon is Burning up The Albany

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Babylon is Burning up the Albany stage as two star-crossed lovers portray the ups and downs of their relationship through dance and music, writes Michael Holland.

This is the UK premier of choreographer, dance artist, theatre and film maker Quang Kien Van’s Babylon that brings together four multi-disciplinary performers in a celebration of music, movement, song, spoken word, love and everything that love brings with it.

Dancers Yu-Chien Cheng and Laura Lorenzi are the main focus for our eyes as they employ all the stage to dance, embrace, question each other, ignore each other, lie with each other and lie alone.

Photo: Rosalind Noctor

Their story goes back in time, forward in time and shocks us with contemporary events.

And all the while there is a constant soundscape backdrop of fuzzy guitar, accordion and a wind instrument, all from Femi Oriogun-Williams; soft and heavy keyboards(Bianca Fung), programmed electronic audio, plus, their two vastly different voices that come together to create something extremely listenable.

They give familiar classics their own special touch that made them almost unrecognisable. I was particularly impressed with their smoky-voiced, jazz-funk version of Wanna Be Your Lover by Prince. The songs and music provided by the duo complemented the movement, sometimes obviously, other times not so much, but always pleasing to the senses.

However, the minimalist set did little to please but, at the same time, did not distract from the performers who fought for artistic attention from each other and the audience. It was a draw.

This dance-gig-theatre show is worth a watch. 

Albany Theatre, Douglas Way, Deptford, SE8 4AG until 20th October. 7.30pm.

Admission: £12, £10. 

Box office: 020 8692 4446 –


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