The Spinners, a collaboration between Scottish director Al Seed and Australian choreographer-dancer Lina Limosani, is a richly crafted theatrical tapestry that cleverly questions notions of destiny and female agency.
It transposes the three Fates of Greek mythology (who spin, measure and cut the cloth of life) from antiquity to a bleak cosmic sweatshop. This grey-clad trio of post-industrial goddesses preside over a rusty vat and a screen hung with what look like curtain tassels. It soon becomes apparent, via the dancers’ dextrous manipulation of thread and a massive pair of knitting needles, that these anonymous bunches of yarn represent individual human lives, each one created and ritually disposed of by the Fates.
Limosani’s choreography, which she performs herself along with the excellent Tara Jade Samaya and Kialea-Nadine Williams, is full of intricate linear textures. Arms entwine and unfold through kaleidoscopic patterns of muscular geometry. Sometimes the trio are overtaken by insectoid flutters or unheimlich judders and undulations. A beat later, they’ve formed an angular tripartite machine, strands running between their toes with mechanistic precision. It is quietly stunning.
The Fates’ labour – in both senses of the word – is articulated effectively. Thread emerges from Limosani’s mouth as if churned from the gut, pulled out into the world by her sisters. The resultant bundles are treated with a mixture of cradling reverence, scorn and possessiveness. But spinning out destiny also comprises dull routine, while the prospect of going renegade and exerting choice holds momentous dramatic allure.
Nigel Levings’ gloomy green-tinged lighting enhances the uncanny atmosphere, while Guy Veale’s strange electronic soundscape mixes bassline thumps with the insistent bleeps of some mythic morse code. Intelligent, captivating and superbly performed.
• At Dance Base, Edinburgh, until 19 August.