Falling Apart at the Seams (so it seems) (1993)

Cast: Liz Aggiss and Naomi Itami (soprano)

Costume Tig Evans. Lighting : Chris Umney

Commissioned by the Gardner Arts Centre, Brighton, Falling Apart at the Seams explores the onset of the ageing fleshy body in a self parodying, hilarious and surrealistic satire. The poems, which cover topics such as falling apart, dead friends, ageing and babies, are embedded into the operatic and spoken duets, and realised by the glamorous, slapstick double act.

The production team included visual artist Gary Goodman and writer/comedienne Louise Rennison. Premiere 28th October 1993 Gardner Arts Centre.

‘Itami has everything going for her – glamour, grace, a voice as velvety as her black frock. Aggiss is the one coming apart at the seams, confessing her failings, contorting herself through dance routines, croaking harsh songs about ageing and death.’
Jann Parry The Observer

‘It would be fatuous to catagorise their style, drawing on cabaret, opera and an eclectic dance approach. No sooner had I slapped a convenient label onto a piece than another medium was explored’
Jan Whitehead The Stage

‘Falling Apart at the Seams, a duet for Aggiss and opera singer Naomi Itami, treads a similar tightrope between art and life but does so with trained expertise. Gaunt faced and neurotic limbed, Aggiss parodies her own long-term fascination with the dark and grotesque. She is a woman afraid of ageing, obsessed with disintegration and pain, while Itami, smooth-skinned, practical and at ease, winds her up with some funny and often painfully personal cracks about her vanity and artistic insecurity’

Judith Mackrell The Independent


References for Falling Apart at the Seams (so it seems)

Aggiss, L, Cowie B Bramley, I (2006) Anarchic Dance : Chapter by Carol Brown. Routledge
Briegleb, T. (1994 September 26). Divas - Absurditties – Falling Apart Die Tageszeitung
Constanti, S. (1993 December 17). Divas Lilian Baylis. The Guardian
Mackrell, J. (1993 December 18) Domestic Science. Independent
Meisner, N (Dec 1993) All the Wrong Moves The Times
Parry, J. (1993 December 19). Dance. Observer
Von Werner, W. (1994 June 10), Glamour in Mainz. Rhein Zeitung
Whitehead, J. (1993 December 9). Fresh, unpredictable and probably addictive. The Stage
13 June 1994 Intimkontakt mit der Gesamtmenge Frankfurt. Rhein Main Presse 19
26 Sept 1994 Die Zuschauer allein gelassen Hamberger Ablendblatt
26 Sept 1994 Alles in Auflosung Hamberger Morgenpost
12 Nov 1994 A Viscous Dismantling of Conventional Niceties Berliner Morgenpost
Die Welt 26 Sept 1994
Tagespiegel, Berlin 13 Nov 1994

Extracts available of the live performance, on DVD, in the book ‘Anarchic Dance’ by Liz Aggiss and Billy Cowie with Ian Bramley (Routledge)