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Jo Across the Festival '12 - Aug 07

Jo Turbitt reviews Joseph, Lost in Detail, Within this Dust and Puppet Book of Splendour.

Jo across the festival: 7th August 2012 - Dance Base (day two) and Puppet Book of Splendour.

A gorgeous festival day; the city is buzzing with sunshine and the venues are simmering away in the heat with happy smiley festival goers energetic and excited. It's amazing what a difference the sun makes to your day, and how the crowds and the hubbub melt into a big pot of smiles.

Joseph--Alessandro Sciarroni (***)

Joseph is a great wee show; if you have a MacBook or anything "I" and haven't yet fully explored its potential, Sciarroni's piece will give you a brilliant tutorial and insight into how you can achieve amazing things with a Mac, simple ideas and "what if" playfulness. Steve Jobs would be proud of this guy and what he does in the 30-minute show. Imagine what a geeky dancer might do with half an hour on their hands with their favourite tunes and the Mac's inbuilt camera. Billed as a solo, the performance is a duet between Sciarroni, his Mac and at times a trio with the dancer and his other selves. The last 5 minutes.... Well like so many things in the Fringe you're never quite sure what you're going to see; it's a roulette, indeed the last section of this show is... Go on, take a chance.

Lost in Detail--Aleksandra Borys (***)

Subtle and full of simplicity, Lost in Detail is a post-modern dance piece performed with questioning playfulness. Borys's stillness juxtaposed with her inquisitive movement invites you to question or to accept. Are we lost in detail? Are we lost in the need to label, to find reason? Are we obsessed by meaning? Or are we able to watch something so subtle and find joy in accepting that what we see is what it is, nothing more? Post modern dance is full of choices and yet also baron of decisions; the space that Borys has to play with these choices is fantastic. Supported by the silence she seizes moments, making decisions, pushing through emptiness to create firm physical ideas and then let's the moments drift away in order to let others have their space on the stage. Like tasting new food, go and see this show to broaden your dance palette.

Within This Dust--Smallpetitklein Dance Company (****)

Weightless haunting shadows form images which float through and across the space. The piece, an extension and continuation from 'Falling Man', is composed out of six different responses to the events of 9/11. Aural, visual and physical, each section depicts different ideas to form a more holistic perspective on how the tragedy shook the western world in 2001. 'Embers', a solo surrounded by crushed up paper, a beautiful depiction of the weighty-heavy suppression of those who aren't there anymore, for me stood out as the gem in this piece; so many have chosen to examine those who fell, however the people who mourn are rarely chosen as the topic of 9/11 pieces. A poignant and evocative piece which builds a larger picture, drawn from the magnification of the image of one man.

Puppet Book of Splendour (**)

An eclectic show of performance art, gothic biblical theories and European theatrical depth. Tackling the epic relationship between Man, God and the Devil, the company take their time to introduce the concepts which they've employed and then for the remainder of the show peel away the layers of ideas and the set to attempt to fully explore the dichotomy and theology that lies at the heart of the piece.

It's dark with glimpses of humour, but on the whole it's deep, oppressive and heavy. Verging on Dada, the piece was one that I would have expected to see as part of the EIF programme and not the Fringe. I can identify why for many this show will push boundaries in Western Theatre and why some will take joy in the bold statements and risks that the company are taking. If it sounds up your street, take 1hour and 30 minutes to revel in the depths of sculpted darkness. It's not my cup of tea, but I took the risk which is part of the festival going mantra. Am I glad I did? Not really.

Puppet. Book of Splendour is at Summerhall. All other pieces are at DanceBase. Check programme or website for dates and times.

Tags: Edfest dance

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