Jo Turbitt reviews part of Dance Base's programme, along with Boris & Sergey's Vaudevillian Adventure.
This year the National Centre for Dance are whisking us off on a global tour. Buy your tickets and board the Dance Base ship! No hour-long security queues, no baggage restrictions and no delays; it's a stress free trip. The stop-offs along the way offer flavours of dance companies, styles, ideas and interpretations that fire up the imagination and satisfy the dance/travel enthusiast. Stay for the whole tour or jump on and off, no matter what you choose to see I can assure you, you'll have a pleasing and enjoyable trip. Watching each show is like looking out of the window as the captain announces that you're passing over beautiful not-to-be-missed landscapes and views on your tour of the world of aesthetic athleticism.
Dance Base take you to destinations of the familiar and the whacky, all demonstrating the rich and complex tapestry of what dance can achieve. Each piece/performer is like a country in their own right, bringing their own unique traditions and contributions to the art as they ask you to take pleasure in simplicity, laugh at yourself and the world around you, delve into emotions and explore! Place your trust in Captain Morag Deyes and her inviting, friendly crew as once again she has cultivated and sought out a diverse wealth of talent and sensitively woven them into a theme which resonates the ideology of Dance Base: all are welcome aboard. Wish you were here; you'll wish that all journeys were like this.
A Corpo Libero—Silvia Gribaudi & The Woman Who Wants to be Funny—Curious Seed (****)
Christine Devaney and Luke Sutherland's piece expertly explores the art of comedy within the art of perfect collaboration, silky intelligent dynamic physicality married with a luscious velvety live score. Peppered with reminiscent anecdotes like a stand-up’s set: poignant, provoking and fantastically crafted. A gorgeous tapestry of music and personality, and intriguing performances. Silvia Gribaudi is unique, brave and brilliant. Her piece needs to be seen to be believed. It's a joyous work fuelled with the comedic delicacy and intimate oomph of the clown genius of Slava Palounin. She fills the stage from one spot. She draws you in through incredible intimate movements and then builds excellently into über splendour. A must.
Time/ Dropper—Jose Agudo & Driftwood—Luke Murphy (***)
Like a hologram, deftly moving with fluid suspension and speed to a lunar landscape of sounds and powerful beats, Agudo is astounding to watch. Gorgeous lighting sculpts his movement, momentum and physical ideas exploring the ideas of time, fragmentation and distortion like Ailey's 'Caught' but for the 21st Century. Gorgeous. Murphy presents a personal work, a fearless solo piece physical theatre. Completely investing, both physically and through his presence he gives us an emotive performance exploring the power of vivid memories; childhood memories of cartoons juxtaposed with horrific experiential memories.
Suite-Hope—Compagnia Chiara Frigo (****)
A simple message explored through a range of complex and imaginative ideas. The last moment will stay with me forever, reminding me that when things get difficult it is the simplest things which sing with the most honesty. Performed by Chiara Frigo and Maru Rivas Medina, the two dance through the beauty of similar differences with juxtaposing synchronicity. Inspired by hope, by those who give it, who fight for it and what hope means to the individual, the piece encourages you to examine your own ideas, thoughts and possibly who you are when no-one is looking. The resonating idea that struck a big chord in me was that hope is inspired in each of us by other people and moments and that, ultimately, it's up to us to use it. Very thought provoking.
GOD—Citymoves productions & A Beautiful Hell—Edge FWD (***)
This is a contrasting double-bill in every which way two pieces can be. GOD (Grumpy Old Dancers) is a humours look at the grumpiness in Scottish culture, explored through duets, solos and patter with the audience. These guys enjoy a good moan and they enjoy laughing at themselves; appealing to those who have a bit of life behind them! In complete contrast to this is A Beautiful Hell, choreographed by Gary Clarke and performed by Edge FWD with an ensemble of young male dancers; a talented troope fuelled by testosterone and clearly influenced by Clarke in their limitless edgy power. Their momentum and stamina delivers this piece examining exclusion, dreams and desires.
Fast Portraits—Liz Roche Company (***)
This fluid quintet calmly perform through moments of suspended weightlessness, using each other as a means to an end, flowing from form to form then pausing only for a few seconds before following their physical instincts to the next idea. Roche's choreography offers perspectives on the live animation before you, offering a 4th-dimensional idea as to how the captured moments are found by the dancers. They perform with unison in their physical vocabulary, but rarely, if ever, do they step the same steps which gave the work a curious flavour of adventure and opportunity.
bAnger—Tara Cheyenne Performance (***)
An explorative physicalisation of how those who dare to be different feel when faced with the pressure of the norm. It was poignant, provoking and funny. It was Guns & Roses blended humorously with observational physical theatre. Friedenberg has an incredible quirky understanding of characterisation and finding a means of expression through her eclectic range of movement, moving from character to character like a well heated lava lamp.
Duplica—Paola Bianchi (***)
A magician of light and a craftswoman with simplicity. Haunting at times and lusciously warm and rich at others, Bianchi has created a piece using the least possible to do the most with. Her use of light is brilliant, and quite often you forget that you're watching the human form move. An enticing use of shadows and movement to a soundscape echoing space, emptiness and full discordant harmonies. Duplica is performance art, stripped of clutter, but littered with questions.
Boris & Sergey's Vaudevillian Adventure (*****)
This is utterly brilliant; an hour of filthy, hilarious puppetry genius. You will never have seen table-top theatre like this before. I'm thrilled to bits knowing that this stunning group of puppeteers are forging forward with an awesome piece of theatre that hits big punches alongside all other late night fringe shows of the vaudevillian description. It's fabulous. It's excellently crafted and is dirtily intricate. Thank god for Flabbergast Theatre: puppetry is alive and deliciously creative. Definitely one of my shows of the fringe.
All dance shows are on at Dance Base and are on a rolling programme. Please check brochure or website for dates and times. Boris & Sergey’s Vaudevillian Adventure is on at the Pleasance Courtyard until Aug 27 (no performances on 13 & 21) at 2300.