I reviewed Manuelito Biag’s “The Shape of Poison” for today’s Chronicle:

“There was nothing gimmicky or trendy about “The Shape of Poison,” the new full-evening work by young Manuelito Biag that premiered at ODC Theater over the weekend — no multimedia conceptualizing, no self-important sociological statements, no cleverness. The dance is absorbing from start to finish for one reason: absolute craftsmanship. If that sounds unexciting, the results are anything but.

That’s because each step Biag conceives for his company, called SHIFT >>>Physical Theater, springs from deep emotional motivation. Watching “Poison’s” central duet for Biag and Erin Mei-Ling Stuart is like coming across a couple fighting in the street — you can’t help eavesdropping even as you cringe at every half-whispered recrimination, every carefully calculated barb. When Stuart slinks away and Biag launches into a passage of explosive failing, you feel it more acutely than the loudest screams. Bay Area dance followers have been alert to Biag’s carefully controlled intensity for several years now, but this is his first full-length attempt, and it marks the full arrival of a major new talent.”

Click here for the full review.

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