Image copyright The Farm
On Saturday 7th October, I was treated to a weird and wonderful performance in Chester Storyhouse. I say performance because it certainly was not a play, but then again, neither was it a traditional dance routine.
Australian performers, Gavin Webber and Joshua Thomson, brought the intangible and ever-present male presence and the eternal struggles the elder generation must face against the younger generations into an environment we can all relate to; the office.
Combining comedic elements with a heartfelt and poignant narrative, Cockfight tells the story of two male office employees who struggle with intergenerational differences – summed up with a perfect ongoing metaphor about migratory birds.
Whilst the story is never going to win any awards for its dramatic delivery or classic lines, the acting on display is suitable for the narrative being told, with the real focus and energy coming in the multiple fight/dance sequences.
Within narrative shattering moments, the pair of Webber and Thomson, two dancers from Dancenorth in Australia, display a visceral and ongoing struggle where the pair fight for dominance.
The whole thing is quite weird, with the dance sequences incorporating pieces of paper as masks at one point, and the migratory bird metaphor coming into play, and the true animalistic nature of a pair of alpha-males taking form – only, with office chairs as opposed to antlers.
But weird is not a bad thing – far from it, in fact. Whilst there isn’t a lot of backstory given behind the pair, there is a strange connection you develop towards them, especially when you realise that, for the most part, it’s not a funny performance at all.
Cockfight demonstrates how easy it is to feel inadequate, especially in the face of your replacement, and it deals with in the best way that members of Australia’s Dancenorth, Performing Lines & NORPA (Australia), and Dance Touring Partnership can do; with interpretative, violent, mesmerising, powerful, and emotive movements.
This performance is for anyone who thinks the acts on Strictly or The X-Factor are impressive. It’s for anyone facing their own mortality. It’s for anyone who ponders the male ego. And it’s for anyone who enjoys ruddy talented individuals figuratively kill one another through the medium of dance.
For more information on Cockfight, including where the next stop on their UK tour is, visit cockfighttour.co.uk.