We don’t mean to undermine the harrowing profundity of much of Vertical Road, a new ensemble work by Anglo-Indian choreographer Akram Khan with a score by Nitin Sawhney, when we say it proved the perfect Halloween performance. To the thunderous tick-tocking of a cosmic clock, animated statues writhed and flipped as if under the Cruciatus and Imperius curses, were picked out by flashes of lightening or loomed in silhouette behind a vast plastic curtain. Khan has talked about exploring our need to reconnect on the spiritual, or ‘vertical’, plane. But it was as a vision of human manipulation and cruelty on a mythic level that the piece exuded its terrible beauty. I lost sight of Khan’s intentions as the drama dissipated in sentimental duets and orchestral strings.
Concert Hall, Brighton Dome, 28 October