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Festival Review: Raw ***

Ashling Findlay-Carroll reviews a piece with 'emotive moments'.

A cast of 7 children and only 2 adults explore the way children relate to the sometimes-harsh world around them. The set and costumes are dirty, unkempt, neglected; in the lengthy opening section the children run in animalistic ways, almost feral. The movement vocabulary based on pedestrian movements such as running, falling, and jumping allows the children to move in a natural way which compliments the theme, but the choreography is a bit too repetitive at points.

There are some beautiful moments: a young child sitting on the stomach of an older woman, examining her hands, the image of all of the children lying together on dirty mattress legs, arms and bodies entangled, the fun in an older child washing the face of a younger cast mate; these were simpler and felt more real. Likewise the latter part of the show, where the cast interact with the space in a more everyday manner, is more interesting than the dance-based material.

The natural elements of doing chores—cooking tinned hot dogs, washing—showed robustness of the children, the way they are making the best of a difficult situation their natural tendencies towards survival. It is poignant to see that they are predominantly doing this alone without the help of the adults. A moment that really highlights this is when a small girl balances one legged on a metal barrel: she is so unsteady that we are genuinely worried she will fall, reinforcing the fact these children needed protecting.

The piece overall makes its point and has some emotive moments, but unfortunately it doesn’t emotionally move in the way it hopes.

Raw was performed as part of this year’s Edinburgh International Festival. It has completed its run.

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