Grisly, gruesome and garish aren’t words you normally associate with dance shows – and if they were to be used, it would probably be as an insult. But that’s not the case with Stepmother Stepfather, which proudly wears these words on its sordid sleeve.
Stepmother Stepfather is a dance double bill with a difference. Rather than totally separate works, these two pieces examine the same darkness but from difference directions. In Stepmother, we get an exploration of fairy tales, with a focus on the frightening bits: the cannibalistic witch in Hansel and Gretel, the wicked wolf from Little Red Riding Hood, and of course the insidious stepmother from Cinderella.
Then in Stepfather we see a more modern take on terror, as a strange and deranged stepdad tries to destroy his adopted kids. Inspired by the Violent Femmes moody ‘Country Death Song’, it’s an example of visceral visual storytelling – the sort that sticks with you long after the curtain has dropped. If David Lynch did dance, it would probably look something like this.
Stepmother Stepfather is a horrible show – and for once, that’s a very good thing.