Thank You Very Much (4 stars)

Thank You Very Much

credit: Hugo Glendinning

Elvis is back in the building

Claire Cunningham's sense of playful adventurousness has seen her explore multiple genres – spectacular aerialism, dynamic choreography, theatre / dance hybrids – and complex themes with an emphasis on her own autobiography. Thank You Very Much, despite its unlikely celebration of Elvis Presley tribute acts, continues in her tradition of making performance that is intimate, cerebral and emotive, meditative and positive, with a powerful eye for the striking visual moment. While she has never lost her distinctive humour, her ability to collaborate allows other performers to share the spotlight and develop her inspiration into a comprehensive reflection on the relationship between the movement of performers with disability and the impersonators of the King of Rock'n'Roll.

Four performers – Cunningham, Daniel Daw, Tanja Erhart and Vicky Marlin – are joined by the voices of five tribute artists. Each live performer is given an episode, to relate their experiences to the mentoring of a tribute artist, while Cunningham introduces and concludes with her own early memories of Elvis and the connection she felt with the svelte star of the Comeback Special.

An apparently casual structure reveals a series of profound connections: questions of how movement marks out an individual, how the specifics of certain Elvis moves can be broken into a sequence, and how the tribute artist finds an echo in the experimental, live art-tinged processes of Daw, Erhart, Marlin and Cunningham are placed at the service of a gently thoughtful and richly emotional journey.

Couper Institute, Glasgow, Thu 31 Oct–Sun 3 Nov. Reviewed at Manchester International Festival.

Thank You Very Much

New work from Claire Cunningham inspired by Elvis Presley.

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