BASIC TRAINING FOR LIFE! choreographed by Sylvie Bouchard and David Danzon. Presented by CORPUS at the du Maurier Theatre Centre, December 14-16. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
the clown-inspired corpus troupe's first full-length evening show, Basic Training For Life!, soars with imagination, even if their range of emotion is limited.The program revives three of their best-known works, A Flock Of Flyers and Carousel in the first half, and Rendez-Vous in the second. The military-themed Flyers finds several new recruits learning increasingly complicated moves from their drill sergeant (David Danzon). It's a classic comic set-up, a subversive poke at authority, with spot-on timing and deadpan performances that are impressive since the moves are so absurdly complicated.
Carousel finds the same drill sergeant joining a group of umbrella-laden women as they move to whimsical Euro-themed music. Here, we're meant to see rigidity tempered by the need for human contact, with Danzon's comic creation warming up to show his vulnerability. The piece's final moments reveal a clever unity, but the character's humility and emotional nakedness need to be emphasized more.
Rendez-Vous is the strongest piece, a look at the sexes that touches on self-awareness, uniformity and power-brokering. Performed on a staircase, it follows two sets of twins -- one male, one female -- as they gradually become aware of each other. Some sections feel under-rehearsed, and at times there's a lack of momentum, but there are also some stunning moments that can only be expressed with movement.
Much of the program's charm comes from the costumes, designed variously by Danzon, Heather McCrimmon and Cheryl Lalonde. Hats flap up and down, umbrellas twirl hypnotically and in the final piece the men wear jockstraps on black tights. CORPUS creates a crazy, but familiar, universe.