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Festival Reviews

Ashling Findlay-Carroll reviews Dancer and Tessa Waters: Overpromises.

Dancer ****

How great is it to dance? If you're unsure then Gary and Ian will help you figure it out. They chat to each other and to the audience about what they like and why they like it, they address outdated opinions that you have to look and be a certain shape, size or ability to be able to dance and they take pleasure in each other's movement.

The relationship between the two is warm and delightful to watch as they chide and tease each other in a comfortable way that shows their friendship. There are some quiet moments, which clearly show the reciprocal support.

This piece is joyous and uplifting. It makes you want to join in the dancing, and the ending is—although just a little bit predictable—exactly what we want: a great big group dance, a way of celebrating movement and the way it makes you feel. The show does do more than that though; it not only leaves you feeling happy as the penultimate track suggests but asks you to question what makes you feel as good, as dancing clearly does for these two men.

Tessa Waters: Overpromises ****

From the outset Waters assures us the next 50 minutes will be pure stupidity, and she certainly delivers in this excellent example of clowning.

Audience participation is non-negotiable. There is no 'fourth wall' as she lies along the laps of one row, sprays 'stage tears' along another and gets everyone on their feet for the final number.

From the glittering cape to her tasselled boots, everything about her sparkles. She is clearly having a ball being with us, and we love spending time in her mad world.

She informs us that the show is a way of forgetting "all the shit that went down in 2016" and from her hula-hooping demo (initially using an audience member as the hoop) to the dramatic mine routine that takes a hilariously dark turn, she certainly provides some escape from the humdrum and chaos of the world today.

I left still giggling to myself with cheeks that hurt from laughing. Not a bad way to spend a Wednesday evening.

Dancer is part of Dance Base’s Fringe programme. Tessa Waters: Overpromises is part of Gilded Balloon’s programme. Check websites for further details

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