A horrible thing for a bloggist to admit, a loss for words. But here I am, following Joe Ink.’s presentation of 4our.


I felt like I did after first seeing a symphony orchestra live, or listening to the music of the Mahavishnu Orchestra or Ornette Coleman; after reading James Joyce or Doris Lessing; hearing Nina Simone sing or walking into a gallery and seeing Guernica on the opposite wall.


How the blanket-blank did they do that? That’s about all I could muster. I felt lost and found at the same moment.



There’s a sense of elation mixed with that of disbelief. Sometimes the effect comes from being low-key and seemingly artless – Billy Holiday singing Strange Fruit or a pitcher throwing a curve ball on a 3-2 count. You don’t expect the power you feel from the simple act.


Such was my experience with 4our.


Joe Ink. may not be the Berlin Phil or Picasso, neither a Dylan howl nor a Bosch triptych, their use of skill, emotion, humour, props and wizzo tech certainly elicited a HTF response. They looked like a school of fish or a flock of birds, appearing and disappearing, flashing before our eyes for an instant, turning dark then turning light. Solos, duets, trios, ensemble, with or without video projections, or the Swiss-Army knife props used in such array. Arrrgghh … words.

While one or two of the props seemed extraneous and there may have been a longuer in one or two of the duets or solos, I found myself transfixed by the beauty of the whole. It’s the kind of piece where you cannot decide what fish or bird you wanted to look at next, especially when all 4our dancers performed a 4tet. Although the show is full of technical effects, they never get in the way. The tech meshes seamlessly with the performers and seems a natural part of the entire piece. I am fully satisfied that were the tech trailer to go missing some night, audiences would still love this show, but what a loss that would unknowingly suffer.


How did Margaret Atwood or Ron Hynes or Joe Ink. do it? Maybe we don’t really want to know.