Press coverageTime Out, 17 - 24 September 1997
Time Out, 17 - 24 September 1997
"The vast central space of the Roundhouse will be transformed into a spectacular dodgem track for a show which is currently taking Europe by storm, Bernadetje from Belgium. Bernadetje is more of an involving experience than traditional theatre, with the audience clamouring to join in. But it is a performance solidly rooted in the '90s, with music played by a live DJ, moving from Bach to Prince and disco-kitsch, driving the space and the energy of the action giving a new future to this extraordinary building. Roll up, roll up for this magical, mystery tour..."
Eye on Monday, 13 October 1997:
"In the middle of Bemadetje, there's a long sequence of entrancing loveliness. To the accompaniment of a plaintive bass aria from Bach, four "yoofs" whirl around in a dodgem car. Sounds like a pretty tight fit, but it's not, the way these guys (and one doll) do it. Looking like some bizarrely beautiful exo-skcletal organism, the dodgem is just the moving centre for a flying-buttress display of sensuous and consensual abandonment." (Paul Taylor)
Morning Star, 17 October 1997:
"Polish Tamara argues with boyfriend Darren because he's lost her passport, the drunk Jean argues with her employee Jack because he is a bad driver and a pervert and Frances sulks because of a silent resentment against mother Jean. All is chaotic and noisy, like a large family, until Platel periodically uses dance to turn the madness into a harmonious celebration of life." (Adam Goldstein)
Hampstead and Highgate Express, 17 October 1997:
"Turning the Roundhouse into a dodgem car roundabout, the young Belgian cast, mostly aged between nine and 27, span out dreams, jokes and nightmares with feverish relish. It looked like they were having a ball. And, once you'd tuned into the slightly unreal feel of the dialogue, the sheer restless energy of Bernardetje worked a powerful spell. Moving with ferocious verve from crazed disco vogueing (including some electric use of dodgem poles for dervish spinning) through impenetrable Polish jokes by way of car crash whiplash. what emerged was a lyrical portrait of everyday lives and concerns. It made the ordinary extraordinary."
The Dancing Times, December 1997:
"Stay alert. Read the papers. Take chances. Some of the best dancing around can only be seen for a few nights. and if you don't plan ahead it's gone before you know it. The Flemish choreographer Alain Platel has shown his work both in Queen Elizabeth Hall and on its roof, where his company gave its first London performances three years ago. Thanks to the imaginative efforts of Artangel. a producing organisation that guides artists to unusual locations. Platel recently returned to London to present his current project at the Roundhouse in Chalk Farm.
" [...] This time the audience sat on chairs facing the performance like ordinary viewers while the cast of eleven, all but two of them teenagers. occupied the stage like ordinary performers. Perfectly straightforward. I thought, they dance and we watch. Then the massive steel gantry overhanging the stage ascended slowly. the lights came up. and I discovered that an oblong dodgem track and tive dodgem cars filled the playing area and that the. performance encompassed talking, dancing, fighting, singing. driving, smoking, yelling and stripping. Nothing ordinary about it." (Barbara Newman)
The Times, 13 October 1997:
"The kids weave and spin their cars across the neon-lit track. In one long sequence a single car slowly circles while its four occupants flop sideways out of it, clamber up the mast and drape themselves around each other with such unfailing agility and unfolding grace. I could have watched them all for an hour. Fragments of individual stories emerge above the treacle from time but all that matters is the balletic beauty of the dancerdrivers as they glide between states of individual and co-operative display" (Jeremy Kingston)