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A mesmerising assault on the senses

Algorithms of Dance, Warwick Arts Centre until May 12.

One of the most remarkable things about the seven performers in the Rosie Kay Dance Company is how they were not drenched in sweat as they sat down to discuss MK Ultra, the latest contemporary piece of high-energy, pulsating choreography on display at Warwick Arts Centre.

Of course, it wasn't the only remarkable thing about this mind-boggling performance built around the concept of fake news, conspiracy theories and how major figures from the entertainment world just might be being manipulated into brainwashing the rest of us.

This work is set against a backdrop of famous images and kaleidoscopic designs, all confined within the talismatic shape of a triangle, dazzlingly reflected on to the shining floor below.

Choreographer Rosie Kay, who no longer performs, was happy to sit with her cool-as-a-cucumber dancers at the end of the performance and explain how her thoughts about mind control had grown from reports of a real CIA programme back in the 1960s which was actually called MK Ultra.

Earlier her dancers had defied gravity as they flexed their bodies, one minute sinuously erotic, the next in chaotic syncopation with pounding rhythms as images of Michael Jackson and Brittany Spears - even Marilyn Monroe - were projected on to the triangular screen.

And as well as the famous, there is also a snatch of film from an interview with a survivor of the actual MK Ultra experimental programme, dreamt up to create a clearer thinking, compliant population, doomed to leave human vegetables - some of whom fought back when their true personalities reasserted themselves.

All this we see, hear and feel through this mesmerising assault on all our senses, all at the same time.

A must for anyone interested in modern dance.

This was certainly a collaborative effort with composer Annie Mahtani, set and video designer Louis Price, producer James Preston and truly amazing dancers Shanelle Clemenson, Harriet Ellis, Shelley Eva Haden, Lizzie Klotz, Joao Maio, Ryan Munroe and Oliver Russell.

MK Ultra will be back in some slightly altered form next year - but for now you only have May 12 to get to the Arts Centre to see it.

Wynne Lang, Coventry: The world that the dance explores is certainly one that is relevant and mysterious, in this age of fake news and conspiracy theories. The shadowy Illuminati, allegedly exercising deep control over modern popular culture, are ever-present through discomforting visuals and fractured soundscapes, while stunning dance moves create a spectacle that is both interpretive and challenging. Go with an open mind and you won't be disappointed.

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