21 February 2019
Author: Hannah Brierley & Bruce Marriott

Wed 20 Feb: Maisy Luk & Vanessa Mildenberg/Clarisse ROUD/Fraser & Friends

Maisy Luk & Vanessa Mildenberg The Forgotten Gift

Clarisse ROUD Works Odyssey

Fraser and Friends there won’t be glitter

A theatrical and comical opening, as the soloist mimed a recognisable morning routine – nose blowing and all. Sound effects, like a rapid voice over the phone and niggling clock ticking, were used with comic intuitiveness in the first section. She then discovers the ropes dangling in the centre of the space and performs impressive aerial stunts, the light joyfulness contrasting with the repetitive mundanity of the opening section. Humorous and heartfelt, but a tad clunky - the two sections were so dissimilar the transitions felt a little forced.

A live guitarist, speaker and three female dancers inhabited the space. Whilst the choreography had complex, striking moments - it felt more like a dance class than a performance, as whilst it was technical and fluid, it often forgot its audience. There were moments of beautiful intricacy and intimacy - the trio wove in and out of one another and created an aesthetic tableaux. However, the rising sense of urgency fell slightly flat despite the incredible athleticism of the dancers and needed more outward intention and less self-indulgence. Moments of magic were lost in translation.

Performers in glamourous, yet trashy, costumes and drag posed provocatively as we milled around the foyer. One performer then erupted into an onomatopoeic spoken word poem, listing sounds and sensations and repeating the title ‘there won’t be glitter’! When we moved into the stage it was like a dreamy queer disco, with pink foam, a disco ball and pink balloons – what’s not to love? They flitted between flailing awkwardness and grand, effeminate movement. Suspended arabesques, dainty circulations of the wrist and flirty shimmies all appeared in the eccentric choreography as we were transported into a manic, mystical queer world – a world I didn’t quite understand but definitely didn’t want to leave. Subversive, sexual and entirely amusing, I was enchanted from bold beginning to (very bizarre) end.

Hannah Brierley

A night of three works speaking in different languages taking on the tough task of entertaining a London audience.

Maisy Luk's The Forgotten Gift promised a solo with some humour in exploring our endless doing of, and playing with, 'stuff', at the expense of letting our minds and imaginations soar. Logically it broke down into sections of doing the pedestrian stuff of life while Luk muttered to herself in Japanese, and sections of aerial work showing a soaring mind. The aerial work was constantly fascinating and accomplished - as circus often is. The pedestrian sections were sadly tedious and one came rather to dread them and want to fast-forward.

From Japanese to Greek with Clarisse Roud's Odyssey - inspired by Greek mythology. It looked to show friendship, death and rebirth but this was rather generic, and with no easily discernible characters it was hard to follow and buy into. There was a terrifically atmospheric and diverse score by Aleph Aquiar, played live, and with three bold dancers one hoped for more, if there were occasional flurries of nicely free-flowing movement devouring the stage. An extra burden was a narrated story in Greek (I think) that just reinforced the sense of a dramatic work which lacked clarity - for a British audience anyway.

Roehampton student Fraser Buchanan's there won't be glitter was written in fluent queer and we all seemed to understand/enjoy its showing of a queer utopia that started in the bar as we came out (no pun intended!) of the proceeding piece. The towering Buchanan and four dancers salaciously strutted, preened and wiggled in, despite the title, gorgeously glittery costumes, 6-inch heels, plus the odd bit of black lace and mantilla. Buchanan feels like the love child of Salvador Dali and Pina Bausch creating a surreal world of words, art, dance, tinsel and balloons - all Barbie, no Ken. Strongly committed performances from all delivered a memorable walk on the wild side. A team to watch.

Bruce Marriott


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