REM-SA Magical mystery tour 0000
Writing a review of Hen-8a is almost impossible. So much of the show depends on audiences finding out for themselves just what lurks in the dark recesses of Darren Johnston's mind. Spoiling it is not an option. What we can tell you is the London-based choreographer has a penchant for Japanese horror films. dancers in white dresses with long black hair and dark eyes peering sadly.
But the dance itself is only half the story — and not even the most interesting half at that. Arriving at Aurora Nova you are ushered into a mini van with blacked out windows. Warned that the show contains strobe lighting, and asked to turn off your mobile phone you are then plunged you into darkness. Ten minutes and a few miles later you arrive who knows where to watch who knows what. The rest you need to find out for yourself.
but suffice to say this experience is not
for those with a desire for control. Johnston strips you of that the second you board the bus. and confusion reigns for most of the ensuing hour. Sens0ry depravation has never been so exciting. (Kelly Apter)
I Ren-Sa, Aurora Nova. 558 3853, until 29 Aug, 7.30pm 8. 10pm. £72.50 (29).
YIN-YANG Thrilling Martial Arts and Dance combo .0000
It's not often you see a set being ‘finished' during a show. But throughout Yin-Yang. superb calligraphic an gradually appears on the backdrop for all to see — that is if you're not distracted by the amazing martial arts action going on in the foreground. These are just two of the features that make this production one of the ‘must-see' offerings at this year‘s Fringe. Another is the skilful blending of martial arts. rites and dance by all the cast. The three male
Book Festival 0131 624 5050
Fringe 0131 226 0000 . lntemational Festival 0131 473 2000 Film Festival 0131 623 8030
performers display great skill. strength and endurance and receive the most applause. but the women dancers certainly put in the same. if not more effort. They're dressed in white costumes and clutching pom poms. and this is Swan Lake meets martial arts cheerleading.
There is an eerie juxtaposition between the strong focus required to perform SUCh daring feats With swords and spears. and the showmanship smiles which follow. Those with a dislike for needles Will need to look away at one pOint. while hardened martial art aficionados may find they know all the tricks. But the rest of us mere monals gaze on With wonder and delight. at this slickly choreographed and executed presentation of Korean martial arts. dance and Visual art. (Fiona Campbell)
I George Square Theatre. 662 8740. until 28 Aug (not 22). 7.30pm, 5?] I (27—29).
NOFIT STATE CIRCUS: IMMORTALZ
Theatrical circus flies in the face of convention 0000
Watching lmlvlortal2 is about as close to being in a Fringe show as you Will get Without being a performer. Forget polite clapping and a safe distance between you and the stage. Instead there is open-mouthed gawping and gasps of amazement as the actor- acrobats of Cardiff's NoFit State Circus Spin. twirl and fly perilously above Our heads.
This latest show from the contemporary circus people is a promenade performance. But this is no idle stroll round musty exhibits. As we mingle in the foyer, we are joined by a cast of eccentrics: a demented barber. a Hollywood siren. an accordion player called Rudy. The show has begun. Rudy. leader of the brilliantly ramshackle band. leads us through sheer curtains. into the heart
of the Big Top. This. we are told. is the Slaughterhouse: a state of limbo between death and the afterlife. a place where anything can happen. Everywhere you look — and some places that you don't — a performance is taking place. Circling the space are scaffolds. where children frolic. A woman rams a fruit-filled pram through the crowd. gOSSiping as she goes. Bathing belles are on the trapeze: punk ballerinas are on bungees. They appear from nowhere. disappearing as fast. This is not Circus; it's a parallel world. (Ellie Carr) I The Big Top. 0870 I 26 777 7. until 29 Aug (not 22). times vary. .272 (E8).
Scots talent abounds
Scottish Ballet is dominating headlines this year with its first appearance at the International Festival in two decades. But over at Dance Base, a quieter terpsichorean revolution is rumbling. Programmer Morag Deyes (the uncrowned Queen of Fringe dance) has turned tartan this August, with a clutch of mixed programmes featuring largely Scottish talent.
A few years back she could barely have filled a triple bill. Now she is fighting them back with a stick. First on the roster (show times vary daily) is the only programme minus a Scot. Colin Poole Double Bill (.0000) introduces an ex-Rambert dancer/choreographer with an extraordinary talent. First a solo, confronting black identity and blaxploitation (The Box Office). Next a wry duet with Gena Mann, laying sexuality bare (Bad Faith). His gift lies not so much in technique; but in glowering stage presence and innate theatricality. Box Office needs no words: here the body is politic.
Curious Seed, David Hughes Dance Company, Sara Crow & Co (.000 ) is one of two triple bills. Edinburgh- based Hughes (an acclaimed soloist), provides the highlight here, snaring rising star Rafael Bonachela (ex-
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Rambert and Kylie choreographer) for his first company commission. [4:Freeze-Frame] — for four dancers - fuses clubby energy and distorted classical line to devastating effect. It’s not often you get this close to big-stage brilliance. Christine Devaney’s Almost But Not Quite is a wistful solo from a consummate dancer. Sara Crow’s dance-film is diverting, but extraneous.
Ashley Page, Rosie Kay Dance Company, The Curve Foundation (0000 ) is a treat for those who like drop- dead gorgeous dance of the virtuoso kind. Ross Cooper’s up-and-coming Edinburgh-based Curve gives two audaciously leggy solos; Scottish Ballet’s Page displays his masterly touch with two duets, company signature Acrid Avid Jam and Refurbished Behaviour. When Diana Loosmore and Jarkko Lehmus dance, sparks fly. Rosie Kay’s Asylum is wilfully insane; but finds peace in the end.
For light relief, try XFactor and Freshmess (COO. ), two Edinburgh companies that always entertain. XFactor’s humorous look at the twilight zone, Uncanny, is a revival; where Freshmess’s new One to Grow On is a return to hip hop roots, with live mixing and quick blasts of street-influenced contemporary for six dancers.
(Ellie Carr) I Dance Base. 225 5525. until 20 Aug. times vary. l‘lO tf‘e‘i.