City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Purposeless Movements, Traverse Theatre, Review


By Justine Blundell - Posted on 04 March 2016

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Purposelss Movements L-R Colin Young, Laurence Clark, Jim  Fish, Pete Edwards - photo credit Mihaela Bodlovic.jpg
Show Details
Venue: 
Traverse Theatre
Company: 
Bird of Paradise Theatre Company
Production: 
Robert Softley Gale (writer and director), Rachel Drazek (movement director), Luke Pell (dramaturg), Judith Drake (assistant dramaturg), Scott Twynholm (composer/musician), Neil Foulis (lighting designer/production manager), Guy Veale (live sound and content design), Melissa Macdonald (technical stage manager), Michael Achtman (creative enabler to Pete Edwards).
Performers: 
Laurence Clark, Colin Young, Jim Fish, Pete Edwards (actors), Amy Cheskin (BSL), Christopher McKiddie (audio description), Scott Twynholm and Kim Moore (musicians).
Running time: 
85mins

Purposeless Movements resonates with Robert Softley Gale’s no-bullshit approach to disability.

The idea that one of the features of Cerebral Palsy is having ‘purposeless movements’ is not the only assumption that is questioned, challenged and subverted in this audacious and unflinching piece of physical theatre.

Laurence, Colin, Jim and Pete are all blokes with CP – as they call it. But as they each lay bare their strengths and vulnerabilities, their likes, loves, fears and frustrations, they also reveal the commonality of human being and the struggle – in which we are all engaged - against being defined, and limited, by other people’s perceptions of us.

All of this we know and it’s all very interesting – but it’s the style within which these discussions are housed that hits you between the eyes and really sends the messages home. Softley Gale is smart and in his writing, as in his performances, he enjoys sailing close to the wind and cares not a jot whether you’re going to feel uncomfortable when he pushes you out of your comfort zone.

So there’s a bit of wickedly funny stand-up, with some near-the-knuckle CP jokes, told with a knowing glint in the eye, and a knob joke or two thrown in for good measure. The question of masculinity is literally wrestled with. And then there’s sex – because there is always sex.

A lot of this is also about movement, and this is a very physical piece of theatre. The fact that each of these actors has a unique movement signature is due to the fact of their having CP. This gives each of them a relationship to the space around them and the objects they encounter that is not only different to each other, but also to everyone else. The opportunities this opens up for visual imagery has not been lost on Softley Gale or his cast, who throw themselves into every aspect of this – at times disquieting – frank and infectiously upbeat performance.

Runs 2nd – 4th March 2016