A new six-day festival with a range of activities and entertainment centred around Scotland's national bard Robert Burns.
Learning from the future. On the day I watched this performance there was a technical hitch quite soon after the show started. It was halted and began were it had stopped 10 minutes later. You enter the stage with Leah Marojevic standing naked beside a white obelisk, redolent of the monolith encountered in Stanley Kubrick's '2001 A Space Odyssey'. Across the front of this is projected in a Sans Serif font 'I Was A Body'.
This is a double bill show with two dances; Born to Manifest (Joseph Toonga) and Like Honey (Becky Namgauds) The opening performance of Born to Manifest with Jospeh Toonga and Theophillus 'Godson' Oloyade shines a bright and searching light onto the horrible nature of our society and the challenges that young black British men face on a daily basis. The dancing illustrates the restrictions, constrictions and daily resistance that is encountered.
There's a fantastic projection set up when you enter the dance space. Every surface is covered in images. It resembles a giant cathedral tapestry of portraits all thrown against the walls by a set of industrial strength projectors. Ambient calming music plays as the audience settles.
Scottish Dance Theatre is internationally renowned for creative, groundbreaking work while choreographer Colette Sadler explores the transforming perceptions of the human body. The ideal partnership.
Picture a hospital in the 1960's NHS with the apparent hygiene standards of a 1930's abattoir, and that is the atmospheric staging you are faced with when you enter the performance of The Hospital at Dance Base. The drab, blood-smeared walls and bloody, dirty blankets, together with weak amber lighting, creates an oppressive, disquieting and foreboding dance landscape.
Birds of Paradise produced Purposeless Movements back in 2016 to address a specific medical description of CP: "Which of our movements are purposeless?" The production dives into what it means to be a man living with Cerebral Palsy. Four professional actors with varying intensity of the condition present their perspective in an open, funny and poignant manner.
‘Transfigured – The Pack’ reminded me of the medieval mummer groups except this collection were a mixture of genders, not all male. Mummers were groups of actors who performed plays and folk plays to villages and towns. This group possessed an element of that 'different', 'other' nature. The fantastical and extraordinary costumes of the performers are a delight in themselves and create a spectacle on the street where the piece is performed.
You enter a theatre where the dancers are warming up. It's a very casual and a very relaxed start. And then the lights dim, and the show begins. That is how 'Floating Flowers' commences. Like a tiny rivulet of rain running across a pebble before it joins a stream, which then flows into a river which eventually reaches the sea and a storm and a raging maelstrom.
Last year at the Fringe I photographed Phil Sanger's performance of this show, and, this year, I am reviewing it because there is something very real, honest and touching about this piece of work which has drawn me back to watch it again. Mr Sanger describes his life with dialogue, dance and a touching warmth and sincerity which was also present in last year's performance.