Into The Water by Up and Over It at Brighton Spiegeltent: Bosco

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Our first trip to the Brighton Spiegeltent was a lovely experience as we witnessed some charming dance theatre from Up and Over It. ‘Into The Water’ combined body percussion and folk dancing with some beautiful storytelling and visual effects.

Two young friends, played by Suzanne Cleary and Peter Harding took us on a surreal journey through their childhood in this engaging piece of dance. The stage was littered with children’s toys, clothes and garden type equipment which the two character played with whilst testing the strength of their friendship through various dance contests and percussive moments.

Jonny Reed’s visual effect helped elevate this show from an amazing dance piece into a sublime dream. This was a pure visual treat of dance and imagery for all the family.

Highlight of the piece – Suzanne and Peter’s phenomenal body rhythm dancing.

WIGS 4/5

 

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Jekyll & Hyde by The McOnie Company at the Old Vic

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‘Jekyll & Hyde’ is the first piece of dance commissioned by the Old Vic as part of their new dance collaboration with Drew McOnie as an Associate Artist, and it is a spectacle and a half. In a ‘Little Shop of Horrors-esque’ take on the classic tale of Jekyll and Hyde, McOnie creates dance magic with a show that oozes sex and brutality.

Daniel Collins is stunning as Dr Jekyll, here portrayed as an awkward florist who stumbles across his transformative formula in an attempt to create the perfect plant food. As the flowers in the shop blossom, so does the budding romance between Jekyll and Dahlia, danced exquisitely by Rachel Muldoon. However, as Hyde begins to take over Jekyll’s body with increasingly violent transitions, the body count creeps ever higher and Jekyll is slowly lost to his alter ego. It is here that McOnie’s production really begins to fly, the scenes of the show becoming darker and the dance increasing in its intensity as the two men struggle for domination over the body.

Machismo comes off the stage in waves when Hyde appears for the first time, Tim Hodges achieving the perfect combination of arrogance and utter desirability. His previous work in Matthew Bourne’s ‘The Car Man’ is evident here, channelling the brooding nature of that show into McOnie’s choreography, and indeed Bourne’s influence is clear throughout the entire work. As an ex-dancer of New Adventures, and with Bourne as his mentor, McOnie’s style of evocative story telling is so reminiscent of Bourne’s works, namely ‘Swan Lake’ and ‘The Car Man’. However, McOnie is no simple copycat, and his work has its own unique flavour to it. The partnership between Jekyll and Hyde is entirely believable, the pure testosterone that emerges from Hyde’s seductive movements a strong contrast to Jekyll’s adorably nervous attempts to woo his beloved. Rather than mask the transformation scenes McOnie brings them centre stage, utilising strobes and Grant Olding’s pounding score to reinforce the physical violence that Jekyll experiences when Hyde arrives. The two men are illuminated in their battle for dominance, Hyde’s disregard for Jekyll’s life brutally realised as he wreaks havoc amongst Jekyll’s customers.

The two leading men are strongly supported by the McOnie company, each performer truly inhabiting the character and committing to the choreography, be it an intensely physical gym number, a highly charged club scene or a dream sequence where Jekyll is transported through the vapours of his formula. McOnie uses unison sparingly but to great effect. There is a welcome lightness amongst the more intense numbers, seen in an amusing plant competition routine as the dancers demonstrate their own ‘green fingers’ in an attempt to curry Jekyll’s favour. McOnie successfully avoids awkward ‘dance fighting’, instead gifting Tim Hodges with truly brutal choreography when carrying out Hyde’s violent murders. The death of Daisy, Jekyll’s sweet florist assistant, danced with real joy by Alexzandra Sarmiento, is particularly hard to watch. The movement is barely choreographed, McOnie instead allowing the violence of Hyde’s nature to come across as he lifts Daisy off her feet, strangling with minimal cold blooded effort. Hyde is a destructive machine, and there is little to be done to stop him.

Soutra Gilmour’s set for the show is very clever, a revolving piece operated by the dancers that smoothly transitions from bedroom to florists to nightclub. The performers seamlessly move through the set, using its elevated sections to add real depth to the choreography, and it creates the illusion of a far grander building.

Ultimately, the McOnie Company’s ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ is a whopper of a dance piece. Drew McOnie has moved beyond rising star status; he is an established talent in the world of dance and theatre, and at The Ginger Wig we cannot wait to see where his next choreographic challenge takes him.

Highlight of the show – Jekyll’s preparation for his night out with Dahlia, a fantastically choreographed awkward telephone conversation as Daniel Collins becomes increasingly flustered and tangled in the phone cord, before impressively managing to change an entire outfit on stage whilst hilariously hip thrusting to 60’s motown rock. This scene alone would have demonstrated the massive talent this dancer possesses.

WIGS 5/5

La Gíngy Strollér

Our Brighton Tips

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So, the Ginger Wig & Strolling Man are heading to Brighton, to experience their first taste of this festival by the sea. As England’s biggest theatre and performing arts festival and fringe festival, it is certainly not something we could miss. However, like any arts festival, trying to pick out what to see tends to be a bit of nightmare with programmes as thick as yellow pages and acts as diverse as ‘Future of Food: Burgers… Or Bugs?’, ‘The Bald Prima Donna’ and ‘Burt Lancaster Pierced my Hymen (When I Was 11)’. Therefore we have done some of the hard work for you and picked out the things we most recommend and would most like to see at this year’s Brighton Festival and Fringe.

Brighton Festival

Akram Khan’s ‘Until The Lions’

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“Beautifully combining the classical Indian dance form kathak with contemporary dance, Until the Lions tells the tale of Amba, a princess abducted on her wedding day and stripped of her honour, who invokes the gods to seek revenge.”

The Encounter

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“In this solo performance, Simon McBurney traces McIntyre’s journey into the depths of the Amazon rainforest using binaural technology to build an intimate and shifting world of sound.”

Read our ‘The Encounter’ review here

Operation Black Antler

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“Enter the murky world of undercover surveillance and question the morality of state-sanctioned spying.”

The Last Resort

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“Amidst a barren landscape, a neon light stands bleak and stark. Welcome to The Last Resort. For those brave enough to return to this long deserted resort, beauty, science fiction and history merge to create a unique outdoor experience.”

Minefield

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“New work about the Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas, developed with and performed by Argentinian and British veterans of the 1982 conflict.”

Masquerade

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“Enter the Masquerade Ball, a world of anonymity and duplicity that spins a web of lies and truth around its guests. Carry out tasks, hide your secrets, do whatever it takes to win. You will need to form bonds, break relationships and be ruthless in your pursuit of glory but remember… trust no one.”

Brighton Fringe

The Bookbinder

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“A story of mystery, magic and mayhem; weaving shadowplay, paper art, puppetry, and music into an original dark fairytale.”

Torn Apart (Dissolution)

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“Torn Apart (Dissolution) is about talking to your lover, drinking beer, ultimate rejection, the white picket fence fantasy, sexuality, the rules of being on a visa, The Berlin Wall, but mostly it’s about love.”

Switchboard

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“A phone rings. It keeps ringing. You answer the call. It’s for you. What happens next is in your hands.”

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The Thermos Museum

“Twelve suitcases unfold to reveal numerous astonishing displays. However, the public are not free to reign; visitors are escorted around the museum by a mysterious and disenchanted tour guide.”

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“Life is more than the days you have left. Jeff and Jasmine are diagnosed with a life threatening disease, but through each other they learn why life is worth being threatened.”

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Into The Water

“This foot-stomping, hand-tapping show transports audiences from a magical wasteland to a dreamlike world, where anything’s possible and friendship’s everything. Folk has never been so fun!”

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A Good Jew

“1938. Sol and Hilda play in the Frankfurt Sinfonietta. They’re in love. So what?
Well, Hilda’s father is a Nazi Official, and Sol is, of course, a Jew.”

How Eva Von Schnippisch Single-Handedly Won WW2

“Armed only with a ukulele and the power of song, Eva tells a comedic story of love, frankfurters, the other Eva . . . and de-bunks the bunker story once and for all.”

A Talent for Lying

“Lucy sits beside Aidan in a busy café. He says she knows him, but she doesn’t. Though determined not to be written into one of his stories, Lucy is persuaded to imagine a past she can’t remember.”

Fire Burn: The Tragedy of Macbeth

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“Three sisters meet to enact Macbeth’s fate. Their twisted prophecies transform him from a war hero into a paranoid tyrant in this brutal Shakespearean Tragedy. A man with bloody hands, his murdered friend’s ghost, a queen who sleepwalks – the witches bring them to life to the beat of Hecate’s drums.”

A Little Prince

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“A contemporary new musical adaptation of Saint-Exupéry’s ‘The Little Prince’ that will dazzle the youngest audiences, while seducing and capturing the adult ones.”

Anyway the Fringe and Festival have already started so get planning, get booking and get yourself down to Brighton!

 

Tickets Under £15

Here’s our latest dose of top-notch current and upcoming theatre in London, all for under £15. This week’s selection includes an ethical puppet show, eight short plays in one and Neil LaBute’s return the London stage.

Current

Right Now – Bush Theatre – £10 matinees for students, over 60′s, unemployed and disabled, £12.50 for students, unemployed and disabled on evening performances – until 16 April

“Right Now is a play with a dark heart, a disquieting exploration of one woman’s crisis and darkest desires. It walks a delicate line between playful laughter and deep trauma, teasing and thrilling audiences from beginning to end.”

https://www.bushtheatre.co.uk/event/right-now/

Reasons to be Happy – Hampstead Theatre – £10-15 tickets for students and under 30s – until 23 April

“Neil LaBute’s romantic comedy explores “unfinished business”: even though couples breakup and friends may drift apart, certain relationships never really cease. But does stepping backwards ever bring true happiness? Or is it actually sometimes the only way to secure it?”

https://www.hampsteadtheatre.com/whats-on/2016/reasons-to-be-happy/

Upcoming

Danny and the Deep Blue Sea – Theatre N16 – £12/10 – 3-14 April (No shows Friday or Saturday)

“A fierce dance of the displaced, Theatrum Veritatus brings an explosive, deeply affecting study of alienation and the redemptive power of love.  Two castaways fight their way to each other and cling violently in a sea of hardship for a chance at the happiness afforded to most but denied to them.”

https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/event/114457

Leaper – Little Angel Theatre – £10/8 – 8-10 April

“Although it sounds like a tale from a children’s story, the reality is that fish are starting to disappear from our rivers and seas. Why? And how can one little girl help stop it? Leaper: A Fish Tale follows one fish’s magical quest against the ever-growing natural and man-made monsters in our seas.”

https://littleangeltheatre.com/whats-on/leaper/

Coming Soon

Twelfth Night – The Hope Theatre – £14/12 – 12-30 April (No shows Sunday or Monday)

“Following last year’s critically acclaimed and award-nominated The Tempest, Thick as Thieves return to The Hope Theatre with one of Shakespeare’s best-loved comedies. Expect high energy, breakneck costume changes and sparkling wit as our company of four actors takes on all thirteen roles.”

http://www.thehopetheatre.com/productions/twelfth-night/

The Class Ceiling – The Bread & Roses Theatre – £12/10 – 17-18 April

“Little Pieces of Gold presents eight powerful new plays which respond to iconic texts with issues of social class at their heart.”

http://www.breadandrosestheatre.co.uk/class-ceiling.html

Tickets Under £15

This week we have a wide range of offerings, including, dance, musical theatre, mime, opera, ballet and theatre all for under £15 in some of the finest venues London has to offer…

Current

Golgota – Bartabas & Andrés Marín – Sadler’s Wells – 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21 March – £12 tickets available.

“Four horses perform live on stage uniting equestrian theatre with art, music and dance.”

Upcoming

The Importance of Being Earnest by Gerald Barry – The Royal Opera at the Barbican – 29 March – 3 April – £10 tickets available.

“This operatic refashioning of Oscar Wilde’s most famous play is wildly inventive, exuberant and anarchic.”

Scenes from 68* Years – Sandpit Arts – Arcola Theatre – 6 – 9 April – £12, 10 – 30 April – £14 Concessions.

“A picnic interrupted by soldiers. Never-ending queues. Sunbathing in the shadow of a tank. How do people manage when every day is the same?”

Coming Soon

The Winter’s Tale – Royal Ballet – Royal Opera House – 12, 13, 16, 18, 20, 21, 27, 28, 30 April, 21 May, 1, 7, 10 June – £5 and £6 tickets available.

“Christopher Wheeldon’s three-act ballet adaptation of Shakespeare’s tale of love, loss and reconciliation with music by Joby Talbot.”

Lucky Stiff – MKEC Productions – Drayton Arms – 26 – 27 April – £7, 28 – 14 May – early bird tickets at £10 and concessions at £12.

“Something funny’s going on…With a mysterious murder, mistaken identities, and a corpse in a wheelchair, Lucky Stiff will leave you dying of laughter.”

Blind Man’s Song – Theatre Re – Pleasance Islington – 27 April – 15 May – £15 (£13 Concessions).

“Inspired by interviews with blind and visually-impaired people, Blind Man’s Song is a tale about one man’s rage against his world of darkness.”

Immortal Tango by German Cornejo at the Peacock Theatre

The Peacock Theatre is a long way away from Plaza Dorrego, in San Telmo Argentina, but none of the passion has been lost in this tango extravaganza from German Cornejo. Presented as most tango shows generally are with a series of separate dances, this show also had instrumental episodes. The rendition of ‘Jalousie’ by Jacob Gade performed by the violinist, Maria Mercedes Martinez, was exceptional.

As for the choreography itself, this was top class dancing where even a millimetre of imprecision could have caused some rather painful injuries… As such there was no room for error. German Cornejo and Gisela Galeassi were the top stars in this show and they didn’t fail to defy all sorts of gravitational pulls or spacial worries as they spun, flung and steamed their way across the stage. Following from an opening group number to ‘Roxanne’, they gave a heart stopping finish to the second dance.

There was a mix of traditional and tango-ed up contemporary music for the dance routines. Maybe there was a bit too much European pop music as the show was much more compelling when we were listening to the real thing – Carlos Gardel, Astor Piazzolla and Gerardo Matos Rodríguez rather than Coolio, ABBA and Adele.

As tango shows goes, there wasn’t much to break the mould here in ‘Immortal Tango’, just a selection of glorious set pieces, painted with decadent lighting, curtains and costumes to add glitz to the exceptional dancing. However, one particularly novel and welcome addition to the tradition was the addition of what can only be described as a ‘Tango Dame’, Carlos Debat, bringing some light relief to the show. After upsetting her two dance partners, having her wig pulled off only revealed an even more extravagant wig worthy of Rapunzel.

Stunning dancing, fantastic lighting and great musicianship from this team from Argentina. We only wish they could have ventured a bit further away from convention. A small detraction though from an enjoyable evening. Buen espectáculo!

Highlight of the show – The opening dance from Gisela and German, the Tango Dame’s backup wig and the instrumental version of ‘Adiós Nonino’ by the band complete with freestyled intro from the pianist.

WIGS 3/5