list.co.uk/festival SOMETHING ABOUT OTHERS Thoughtful moves delivered on a big ideas soundtrack ●●●●●
For a mere fiver, Something About Others delivers four brave modern ballet pieces in 45 minutes, through an entertaining soundscape that moves from classical to club anthem by way of a medieval haunt. You might not derive all the nuances of the stories being told through dance, but the moves are mostly thought-inspiring.
The first piece, Something About Others, sparks a few tingly shivers as four turquoise-clad women entangle with four men-in-black to the tune of Berlioz’s fantastically noirish Symphonie Fantastique: Dream of a Witches Sabbath. The flowing movement in Frontier invokes feelings of free spiritedness, while the penultimate piece, Sidewinding (excerpt), is a snake- inspired solo performance.
The pace moves up a notch when electronica hits the decks for Out of Darkness, giving way to some clubbing atmos and attitude with a pelvic judder, skirt shakes and smirks in a tale of growing up gay and struggling with sexuality. An easy slice of contemporary ballet that’s worth your lunch hour and probably cheaper than your lunch. (Susan Wright) ■ Dance Base, 225 5525, until 16 Aug (not 11), times vary, £5.
ANOMIE Energy and technology come together ●●●●●
Precarious has been upholding awkward multi-media performance art for three years at Zoo, staging an annual ambitious extravaganza that combines dance, words, a storming soundtrack and video installations. Anomie continues their run of hard-edged commentaries, conjuring six lives from a single apartment building and detailing their isolation.
Using dance as their primary medium, Precarious fling themselves onto mattresses, swing from the rafters and clamber over the lighting rig: the constant shifts of speed and intensity making this unsettling and provocative. Alienated and frustrated, the clearly defined – if slightly stereotypical – characters babble and complain, always seeking, never finding.
There is an outstanding set-piece: frantic sexual couplings towards the ends capture both the joy and emptiness of promiscuity, funny and melancholic at the same time. And while that isolation is
almost tangible, the structure sags and the use of technology is not tight enough, with videos badly synched to the dancers: alienating for the wrong reasons. Precarious has wonderful ambitions
and always entertain through their daring physicality and intense polemic. Even if their techniques could be honed, their synthesis of arts holds promise and their passion is admirable. (Gareth Vile) ■ Zoo Southside, 662 6892, until 31 Aug, 8.30pm, £10 (£7).
CRIME OF THE CENTURY Young lives on the edge ●●●●●
Chickenshed’s strength is simultaneously its weakness. The company boasts of its willingness to take on social issues, yet Crime of the Century is undermined by blunt stereotyping. Drawing the link between knife crime and social depravation in simple lines, they use hip- hop to expose the horror of urban teenage life. There is energy and some skilful illustrative dances, however, they rarely manage to get beneath the headlines. A single murder becomes the focus for stories about the victim, his killer and the society that has bred them. In a dour hour, the school failures, the appeal of gangster chic and bad parenting are all discussed in rap, music and dance: the male group work especially dramatic, the raps lacking any flow or lyrical elegance. Chickenshed works its cast hard, their athleticism stretched by aggressive acrobatics. The underlying theme – of a world without discipline or hope – is hammered home, effective and chilling.
The essential flaw is that it claims to resent the way youth are demonised, while characterising them all as hopeless dope-smokers, on their way to hell with a rap soundtrack. It is a solid production, well-paced and intense but tends to be rather too obvious and simplistic. (Gareth Vile) ■ Zoo Southside, 662 6892, until 30 Aug (not 19), 2.45pm, £9–£10 (£7–£8).
ELVIS STILL MY HEART No, Elvis has definitely left the building ●●●●●
Louise Barrett is a fantastically talented physical performer. You can’t take your eyes off her. In spindly ‘spinster’ Agnes, subliminating repressed sexuality into an obsession with the King, his eroticised pelvic flicks translated into nervous,
PREVIEW RAW The highs and lows of clubland
Aerial work can often be filled with magic and mystery, as you watch a performer fly fearlessly through the air. That bravado, however, is based on many things — not least the person behind the scenes making it all happen. ‘The aerial technician is so important,’ explains Chantal McCormick of Ireland’s Fidget Feet aerial dance company. ‘And because I’ve been choreographing for so long, I understand the possibilities of what you can do in the air and what equipment you can use.’ McCormick’s latest project is a powerful exploration of nightlife culture – the fun, the fear, the laughter and tears. Mixing gravity-defying aerial work with ground-based contemporary moves, RAW will live up to its name in more ways then one.
‘The whole show is raw,’ says McCormick. ‘We’re not trying to hide anything. The director wanted all the harness kit and clipping-in to be visible, and to find a theatrical reason for doing it all.’ Director David Bolger is well known to Fringe audiences for his award-winning work with Irish dance theatre company, CoisCéim (Chamber Made, Knots). He and McCormick have explored the key elements of clubland, to create an emotionally rich, visually dynamic piece of dance theatre.
‘We looked at the whole idea of the DJ,’ says McCormick. ‘Asking what do they stand for, what’s their role? In the show he’s the key character, almost like a shaman. And the whole stage gets covered with water at the end, because if you’re in a nightclub, water is very important – that purity and cleansing.’ (Kelly Apter) ■ Dance Base @ Out of the Blue Drill Hall, 225 5525, 14–27 Aug (not 17, 24), 9pm (15–16 & 22-23 Aug 2pm), £12 (£10).
agonising ticks, she’s created an absolutely unforgettable character. Poor Agnes deserves a better show than this one, though: it’s not every production that can end with Led Zeppelin’s ‘Whole Lotta Love’ and still feel anticlimactic. The basic premise of this narrative dance piece is that Agnes rents out a room in her house and ends up living with two other lost women. While dance and plot are married well at the beginning, with some lovely comic moments of lip-syncing to Elvis hits and
a haunting opening tableaux, the story whimpers out, with the dance sections (a mix of jitterbug and contemporary) increasingly irrelevant. There’s excellent support from Katey Leader as the brash Welsh glamour girl who helps Agnes start living again, but the third character is tacked on with nothing much to add to the plot. In short, great performers in need of a dramaturg. (Kirstin Innes) ■ Pleasance Dome, 556 6550, until 31 Aug (not 17), 5.30pm, £7.50–£8.50 (£6–£7).
13–20 Aug 2009 THE LIST FESTIVAL MAGAZINE 47