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Inspired by published transcripts of 999 calls, this short piece integrating dance with drama packs a lot of tension into under an hour.

Four performers on a tarpaulin-covered stage play out both sides of the telephone conversations, with oxygen masks eerily doubling as handsets.

A panicking husband whose ailing wife is choking on a prawn sandwich, the daughter of a man having a heart attack, an asthmatic mother suffocating in a smoke-filled building and a 5 year old boy too young to know the meaning of the word “conscious” as his mother lies sprawled on the floor, respond in their various ways to the calm reassurance of the voice on the other end of wire, a temporary lifeline during the endless minutes of panic before the emergency services arrive.

Jane Mason’s choreography adds an extra dimension to Carrie Cracknell’s direction, with Brendan Hughes and the diminutive Bryony Hannah making particular impact in a powerful, fragmented reminder of just how much a person’s life can change in the blink of an eye.

4/5

Words: Louise Kingsley

Gate, Pembridge Road W11 3HQ (020 7229 0706). Until 27th February (£16)


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