Outwitting the Devil | i | ★★★★ review
4 October 2022
Khan’s choreography speaks a language that transcends cultures, histories and prior knowledge of dance styles and classical literature.
- Rosemary Waugh
Akram Khan’s Outwitting the Devil is a dance for feet. Yes, there are five dancers on stage and they all use many more body parts than just their lowest limbs. And yes, there’s a lot to pick out and delve into when it comes to the source material and individual scenes. But ultimately, this slow-burn primal scream of a dance work is all about the feet.
First premiered in Stuttgart in July 2019 – and, shortly after, performed at the Avignon Festival – this 80-minute descent into the basic human emotions of love, loss and confusion is based on the ancient tale of Gilgamesh.
The Mesopotamian epic relays how King Gilgamesh was punished by the gods for destroying a precious cedar forest and killing its guardian. In response, the gods killed Gilgamesh’s beloved friend Enkidu, sending the king into an existential crisis. None of which, in some respects, it is necessary to know.
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