DONUTS at The Albany
As we walked into the auditorium at the Albany to see the new dance work Donuts, three young women on stage were scrunched up together on a sofa, laughing and chatting in that wonderfully unselfconscious way that close friends do. The trio kept it up for at least ten minutes as the audience arrived in dribs and drabs – and not for one moment did their rapport look anything but natural.
Once we were all seated the lights went down, the soundtrack exploded into life and we were treated to a celebration of what it is to be young and the overarching importance of real friendship. And it was stunning both in its vision and in the fabulous dancing of Maya Carroll, Iolanda Portogallo and Dorna Ashory (above, left to right).
Choreographer Jamaal Burkmar of dance company Extended Play was inspired to create Donuts by favourite old sitcoms such as Scrubs, The Office and Malcolm In The Middle. And he made terrific use of the genre’s familiar tropes – plot-teasers, high-emotion departures, sentimental returns and so forth – which were given added heft through a thumping electro score by Jameszoo.
The truth is, though, you didn’t need to know any of those programmes to enjoy Donuts because it works simply as a hymn to the passionately urgent, sometimes painful, often fun, always intense friendships we develop in early adulthood. Some of us are lucky enough to keep those relationships for life – but as we grow older, the sense of urgency is replaced by a feeling of easy intimacy. And watching Donuts I realised just how much I miss that youthful passion. I am not by nature nostalgic but this was as near as I have ever come to pining for a lost past.
Donuts, presented by The Place, lasts only an hour – but what an affecting, thrilling, joyful and rewarding hour it is. The phrase small but perfectly formed could have been invented for this glorious show.