City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

And Now..., Brunton Theatre, Review

By Justine Blundell - Posted on 06 March 2016

Show Details
The Brunton
plan B
frank McConnell (director), Frank McConnell, with the dancers,(choreography), Jim Sutherland (composer), Steve Kettley (additional music), Miranda Melville (designer), Jeanine Byrne (lighting designer), Ritchie Young (sound designer), Paul Fray (lighting technician), Niall Black (production manager).
Glen McArtney, Joanne Pirrie, Katie Armstrong, Kirsty Pollock (dancers), Steve Kettley (musician).
Running time: 

The Scottish Independence Referendum of 2014 stirred up strong passions on both sides, rousing the greatest percentage of people ever recorded to vote in a UK election or referendum. Particularly impressive were the numbers of young people who engaged with the democratic process and this inspired plan B, one of Scotland’s leading dance companies, to consider the multifarious aspects and implications of the yes-no debate.

‘And Now…’, newly choreographed with the dancers by Artistic Director Frank McConnell, riffs around the theme of ‘what do we want to be when we grow up?’, and takes a look into where we’re going and what happens next along the way.

Considerations pertaining to scale and perspective are immediately and inevitably triggered while contemplating the stage area. Strewn with chairs from doll- to giant-size, there are figures no bigger than an Action Man sitting here and there, with one little man peering out of a randomly-placed pair of shoes.

Now the four dancers – Katie Armstrong, Glen McArtney, Joanne Pirrie and Kirsty Pollock – together with musician Steve Kettley peep and hide, like Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz, disappearing behind two paint-smeared doorways as slowly pulsating spotlights create alternating areas of shadow and light. As the performers - boldly or relunctantly - come out of hiding, a dust sheet is pulled to the floor to reveal the largest chair of all, its seat towering over their heads. Does this represent a defining ambition or a terrifying prospect?

In a performance that interweaves poetry and discussion with contemporary dance, shifting positions and alliances are continually at play. The dancers demonstrate squabbles of control and isolated moments of trust. Steps are bravely taken, timidly retreated and retraced forward once more. There is teasing, bonding, compliance and defiance all worked out through a flow of movement on, over and around the discrepancies in height and strength of the various chairs and the on-stage, ever-fluctuating population of performers.

Throughout, Steve Kettley provides the backing track with an awe-inspiring display of skill and soul, as he turns his hand effortlessly from saxophone, to jaw harp, to glockenspiel - and even a bit of acting. There is no weak link in plan B’s newly permanent ensemble. McConnell has succeeded in putting together a troupe of dancers who are well-matched, complementary and highly individual. The result is a performance that is thought-provoking, visually beautiful and totally engaging.

On tour:

9 March: Universal Hall, Findhorn, Forres

11 March: Ardrishaig Public Hall, Argyll

12 March: Craignish Hall, Ardfern, Argyll

23 March: Kirkgate Arts, Cockermouth, Cumbria

24 March: Alnwick Playhouse, Alnwick, Northumberland

26 March: The Sunart Centre, Strontian, Ardnamurchan