Guilherme Garrido and Pieter Ampe: Really, really intimate
  • Phile Deprez
  • Guilherme Garrido and Pieter Ampe: Really, really intimate

While you file in to the Winningstad, Guilherme Garrido is watching you. He is perched aloft on the feet of his majestically-bearded partner Pieter Ampe who is laying on his back with his legs up. Before the lights go down over the audience, Gui chats with you for a bit, about being in Portland, about his new baby, about this and that and everything except the dude he's sitting on, who starts hitting his foot and fidgeting under the weight, to hilarious effect. Then Gui asks you all a few times if you're comfortable, if you want to take him to the vegan strip club after the show, and eventually asks you to join him in welcoming Pieter with a princess wave and an "I love you." And you do, of course, and you mean it, because this is so cute.

(I know reviewers are supposed to refer to artists by their last names, but these guys seem so friendly and authentic that I just want to call them Gui and Pieter, which they call each other, and I want to give them a big hug. But this is not about me.)

Then the house lights go out and the show begins. There is not really any more talking, and really there is not much "dancing" in the way we generally think of dancing. I would call it a movement piece. They are growling and hissing and grunting, slithering and loping and rolling, hitting and throwing and hugging each other, and yes, at one point, tearing each others' clothes off — the guys are nude for probably more than half the performance. They touch each other in a lot of ways you would never expect to see in public or in private, let alone on a stage, which is surprising and funny but not off-putting.

There is a freshness and purity to the way that Gui and Pieter interact that calls to mind young children playing together before society imposes the idea of polite personal boundaries on them. It makes you a little jealous of what a close friendship they have, and how free and comfortable they are with their bodies and each other, but they (mostly) don't make you feel excluded either because they are sharing this with you so openly.

It's a very energetic piece overall, and frequently very humorous, but there is a stretch near the end where the momentum drops significantly and they are just sort of cuddling. I got a little sleepy during that part, which is slightly more my fault than theirs, but I think they could benefit from a stronger ending. It's a minor quibble though, and I would love to see the show again, and I would definitely hit the vegan strip club with Gui and Pieter. They're very likable, and I sincerely hope their collaborative relationship is long and fruitful and that they tour through Portland frequently.

You have one more chance to catch Still Standing You, tonight at 6:30 at the Winningstad Theatre. Hurry!