Category Archives: Dance

Review NDCW Autumn Tour ‘Folk’ by Helen Joy

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4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Profundis, They Seek to find the Happiness they Seem, Folk

Profundis

In whispered tones of reverence, I am told: it is, oooh, wonderful, you’re in for a treat…

A woman in purple stands hugging herself in dance. She is singular, beautiful.

The spot light shifts to a gloriously sexy scene, a woman in white revelling in her spot-lit body writhes on the stage. She is right in front of me, I can see into her eyes. I am mesmerised. Carted away by men in black, the performance erupts into a fantasy of colour, dance, commentary, music and comedy. It is at once surreal, curious and charming. Sinister. Younger audiences find this funnier; we are awkward, we laugh in the wrong places. The dancers say that they find their voices in dance not in language but have enjoyed this challenge, being free to be themselves, to speak, to interpret freely within the confines of the psalm. De Profundis.

It is the creation of genius. It has the feel of a masterpiece. It is an abstract painting come to life. It is Kandinsky dancing. Of all the images, I am left with the man in red knuckling his way across the floor, man as ape as movement to music. A treat, indeed.

The Seek to Find the Happiness They Seem

Dance partners in black and navy and they trip through the dark, faces lit like portraits looming out of Rembrandt. Oh, this is exquisite. They are so lovely to watch. Perfectly in unison, Fred and Ginger ducking and diving and dancing in front of us, I can feel the warm swoosh of air across my face as they sweep past.

To Richter, they fail, their sense of loss and confusion is complete.

Folk

Bosch. It is a Bosch in all its painted madness cavorting in front of us. It is a crazy world. It rises from the soil of Autumn leaves into this crepuscular land. It is a topsy turvy place, a slight inversion, sensitive to struggling personality, to groupings, pairings and isolation.

Something warm and heavy, muted and visceral, carefully cadaverous, so beautiful from a distance but gently sinister close up. It is a convoluting palette of earth. It is breathtaking.

To see these dancers up close and personal, the bandages on their toes, the straps around their knees, the sweat on their faces, each muscle flexing, is to see perfection. To hear their feet feel the ground, to see expression in every tiny movement, is to see beauty.

I want to pull this piece into the night air, I want to let them free to scatter real leaves, dancing under real trees.

I want to press Stop: I want to fix them like statues and examine every moment. I cannot watch it all and I have missed so much but oh, I have taken something magical, ethereal, wonderful away with me.

http://www.ndcwales.co.uk/en

Enjoyed:         14th November, 2016 at NDCW, Cardiff

Profundis

Choreography:             Roy Assaf

Music and Sound:       Uoon I, Alva Noto (Vrioon Electronic)
Enta Omri, Umm Kulthum (Original 1964 Live Recording)

Lighting Design:          Omer Sheizaf

Costume Design:          Angharad Matthews

Costume:                     Deryn Tudor

Angharad Griffiths

 

They Seek to Find the Happiness They Seem

Choreographer:        Lee Johnston

Music:                                    Max Richter

Lighting:                     Joe Fletcher

Costume:                   Zepur Agopyan

Dancers:                    Matteo Marfoglia, Elena Thomas

Folk

Choreographer:        Caroline Finn

Visual Artist:             Joe Fletcher

Music:                                    Assorted (see website below)

Lighting:                     Joe Fletcher

Costume:                   Gabriella Slade

Dancers:                    Josef Perou, Camille Giraudeau, Matteo Marfoglia, Mathieu Geffre, Angela Boix Duran, Elena Thomas, David Pallant, Josie Sinnadurai, Ed Myhill

 

 

http://www.ndcwales.co.uk/en/what-s-on/autumn-tour-folk/

 

Marina Abramovic, Southbank Centre, By Hannah Goslin

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

A once in a lifetime opportunity – Marina Abramovic has been an idol of mine from a young age when performance art was being introduced to me as a performer. A strong female taking the performance world by storm, to listen to this woman talk about her life, work and future only a few yards away was nothing less than extraordinary.

A simple set up on a Q&A, Abramovic is at all times in control. Known for moving interviewers in the direction she wishes to go, this simple Q&A soon becomes a little less simple, flustering the interviewer as she opens up to interesting, moving or hilarious stories on a tangent.

Growing up with not such a wonderful childhood, from the age of 14 when she put on her first performance, she says she believed even then she was too old to put on performance work as greats such as Mozart had done so at a much younger age. She takes her pain, her love, her anger and releases it in her performance art, challenging boundaries and the society of the time.

An honest woman, there is nothing she does not offer on the plate to us. From such inspiring and emotionally full work, I expected a serious yet dedicated woman. And she is, but mostly, she is funny. She has an addictive and wonderful personality that makes your ribs hurt and a can do, but also care free attitude that is inspiring and envious of.

An interesting point made by Abramovic, is that she does not believe she is a feminist. Questions from the audience about femisim, one from an art student from South Korea where woman are taking their sexual abuse and turning it into art is offered to Abramovic to comment on. And she does not hide behind a lie – she has experienced pain, euphoria, many emotions that you can see in her work but she admits she has never been abused, nor has she had any patriarchal/misogynist comments or influence and admits that this way she cannot comment. A lucky lady, we think of performers of having some tormented soul, but this woman has not, she is purely clever, creative and a genius.

Marina Abramovic has released a memoir on her life, and it is my belief that this is worth a good read for all performers, male or female to explore and gain insight into one of the greatest performance artists in our world.

Review Romeo a Juliet, Ballet Cymru by Helen Joy

 

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4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Bonfire Night. Newport’s riverside is looking crystal sharp in the cold air and the backdrop of fireworks reflect in the still water of the Usk…a poetic start to the poetry of the Bard in motion.

Good ol’ Will. It’s a well-known tale and we have all seen many interpretations over the years. Ballet Cymru will mime and dance its way through the verse in this very smart and suitable location.

And it is quirky and funny and sad in all the right places. It is strangely lovely with pearl curtains and warehouse projections; costumes peculiarly appropriate to the setting and the story.

With clog dancing.

How could you not love the clog dancing? The thump of the wood on the floor as the orchestra roars into Prokofiev’s finest. The masks, the confidence, the arrogance of the piece. Startling, angry, manly, perfectly placed. I am not alone in loving this, this visceral interlude.

A hard line drawn against the softness of Romeo and Juliet, the continuum of life against the void.

And I have to say, I love the fight scenes. I can see that the love scenes are beautifully played out, the emotions expressed exquisitely in dance; but the fight scenes capture the sense of boyish adventure. Protagonists from families expectantly discordant run rings around each other, play-fighting until blood is shed. The boys are men. Tybalt commands the stage. Mercutio burns brightly and then, revelling in his wordy end, burns out. The swords are sheathed. The music, the movements are oddly exciting to this complex choreography and I can see eyes shining with some primal lust around me.

How does ballet do this? How can this carefully designed dance portray the random acts of a few hapless young folk so well? I ask a dancer, the Friar, what a certain move means – this apparent lifting of the arms of another: ah, it’s about domination, about instruction, about control.

It is all about control. It’s about putting words to movement; movement to music. It’s taking this extraordinarily gifted troupe of dancers and giving them a different language to speak. It is every inch of the body telling a love story, a tragedy, as beautifully and as elegantly as it can.

The dancers play their roles with finesse and candour. It is not an easy story to tell and they do tell it beautifully.

We leave to see the last of the fireworks explode over the town and kick the Autumn leaves a little before we go. And I ask my friend, what do you think? “Well, more memorable than conventional productions I’ve seen.’ Yeah. I’d go with that.

Huge thanks to Patricia Vallis and cast for making us all so welcome at The Riverfront, Newport.

Enjoyed:                                                                      5th November, 2016, at The Riverfront, Newport

Touring:                                                                       November to December, see website for details

http://welshballet.co.uk/

Dancers

Lydia Arnoux                                                            Anna Pujol

Andreamaria Battaggia                                      Allegra Vianello

Gwenllian Davies                                                   Dylan Waddell

Miguel Fernandes                                                 Daniel Morrison

Mark Griffiths                                                           Robbie Moorcroft

Artistic Director                                                                       Darius James                                          

Assistant Artistic Director                              Amy Doughty

Associate Artistic Director                             Marc Brew

Composer                                                                  Prokofiev

Original Play                                                             William Shakespeare

 

Review The Sleeping Beauty The English Youth Ballet by Sarah Debnam

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The English Youth Ballet recently put on an amazing show at the New Theatre in Cardiff, we were invited along to watch this show and as a parent of a dancer I was keen to go along.

We hadn’t been to the New Theatre before so as we wandered across to where it stood I was quite interested to see the exterior, the New Theatre in Cardiff seems to be a tiny little theatre from the outside, and compared to some I suppose it is quite small, however when we walked into the theatre itself I felt as though I was transported back in time. The curtains and the ceiling and all of the decor just reminded me of the theatres you would see in the old movies. Which I think it adds to the atmosphere, even the cushions for the children to sit on were made out of red velvet. The staff were incredibly friendly and hospitable as well.

So we waited for the show to start with our snacks and drinks, and as the children came onto the stage I realised that the show and the theatre itself really were a perfect fit. I have seen a couple of ballet shows that were very modern and the outfits very up-to-date, however this one really did stick to the original story and all of the beautiful dresses, outfits and tutus just added to the overall effect.

As a parent of a ballerina I know how much effort goes into the rehearsals and how much effort goes into each and every one of the moves, which is why I could really appreciate the effort and how well all of the dancers did in this production, every move they seemed to carry out effortlessly, even though I know it must have been very much hard work for them.

Also the story was told through the traditional ballet hand movements which was wonderful to see and carried out flawlessly in my opinion.

As the show moved on I really spotted some of the amazing talent on the stage, some stood out and the villain of the show really captured my attention as did the smallest children, as it takes a lot to stand on a stage in front of all those people but they seemed to enjoy every second.

I’m no expert however the show entertained myself and two children and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The standing ovation at the end really highlighted the fact that everybody there really did enjoy The Sleeping Beauty production.

One point I would make as well is that there were a few noticeable wobbles at one point and the dancers kept their composure and carried on regardless, I admire that above all, as that sort of poise and commitment proves a real talent.

Thank you to everyone that stood on that stage and danced their socks off! We really enjoyed the evening.

http://www.englishyouthballet.co.uk/index.html

 

Review Clear-Cut 6 M.A.D.E. – by Amelia Seren Roberts

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Origami Reinkarnasjon performed by Simon Gore and Jack Rees

Traditional Sephardic lullabies, liberated CCTV Footage and choreography merging Jane Eyre with the tunes of PJ Harvey are among the diverse acts at Clear-Cut 6 programme of experimental performance arts.

The audience clamours for position in the gallery space at M.A.D.E; spectators gather at the back and the edges of the room, whilst others nestle amongst the many cushions and pallet boxes laid out for our comfort. The atmosphere is one of anticipation, but also of fun and togetherness. After reading through the programme at the beginning of the evening, I find myself curious about each of the seven experimental acts in turn. Clear-Cut is an event unlike anything I have attended before, and the diversity of the audience and acts alike is immediately apparent. The evening is a showcase of video works, dance, spoken word, performance, visual arts, new music and more. To experience this diversity of performance in a single event is impressive. It’s something of a one-stop culture stop.

Where genres collaborate and collide”, Clear-Cut 6.

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Will Salter, host of the evening and Dada performer

Will Salter is our animated host; himself performing Dada poetry at intervals throughout the evening to great effect. His verbal explosions punctuate the spaces between acts, and mischievously disrupt the audience should they grow too comfortable. Dada retains a long history with experimental performance related to (or in denial of) the fine arts, which makes the presence of the genre particularly appropriate on this occasion.

Our agenda for the evening is jam-packed, prompting fears that we might not achieve all seven acts. In actuality, the evening is well-structured whilst maintaining a casual and friendly atmosphere.

Marega Palser merges literature, illustration and popular music in, ‘Jane Eyre, The DarkSide...’ Initially inspired by Paula Rego’s illustrations of the novel by Charlotte Bronte, Palser’s performance really is a highlight of the evening. The artist said of the inspiration for the work, “each picture told a story; mysterious often to my undeveloped understanding and imperfect feelings, yet ever profoundly interesting…” Palser describes the piece as, “a thought in progress…” and the work curiously encompasses elements of the unknown. The piece reveals something of an internal conflict, which ultimately dictates movement, yet there is undeniably confidence in the madness.

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 ‘Jane Eyre, The DarkSide…’ performed by Marega Palser

IdentiTTy’ by Arnaldo James and collaborators is a film which asks more questions than are answered. “Does ethnicity or origin come through when skin tone is homogenised? Is morphology reflected by environment? Can identity be conveyed through dance and abstract non-verbal storytelling?“ The potentially fluid and reactionary nature of cultural identity is explored in this choreographed video work. Referencing Japanese Butoh and Creole traditions alongside more indigenous Trinidadian movement the piece claims to examine, “the similarities that occur in different cultures through movement and music”. The piece is visually stunning.

Nicholas Morgan & Margot Przymierska perform as the collective, ‘Parallel Lines’. In, ‘That’s the family you have’ Nicholas and Margot divulge separate yet intertwining stories, “improvising around box-set narratives and the immediate, subjective experiences of our own lives, collapsing characters, time & space, fiction & reality”. Their simultaneous telling of the circumstances surrounding the funeral of a relative, alongside an audio description of moments from the popular series ‘Game of Thrones’ captivated the Clear-Cut 6 audience and was at once sensitive and hilarious.

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 ‘That’s the family you have’ performed by ‘Parallel Lines’,  Nicholas Morgan & Margot Przymierska

Meanwhile, above the performance space, the gallery plays host to a film and sculpture installation by contemporary artist, Merran Singh Dubb. ‘Temple of Consciousness’ explores the relationship between the declining condition of the natural environment and the similarly marred spiritual condition of humankind. “It is evident that we are destroying the planet but ultimately, we are destroying ourselves”. The installation thoughtfully presents imagery representing spirituality alongside the elemental extremes of natural disaster and climate change.

To close the event, ‘Trio Ladino‘, consisting of Angie Kirby, Bethan Frieze and Eloise Gynn are a trio of musicians and vocalists performing adaptations of Arabic and Sephardic traditional lullabies. The trio describe their sound as, “ancient melodies fused with more contemporary musical perspectives, anchored by lullaby-like themes and romantic narratives”. The performance is a calming and captivating conclusion to the Clear-Cut programme.

On reflection, improvisation and experimentation were certainly the order of the evening with every act proving both valuable and unique. The atmosphere was at the same time informal, friendly, supportive and progressive. Clear-cut is unlike anything I have seen and I will be attending from here on!

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 ‘Trio Ladino’ performers Angie Kirby, Bethan Frieze and Eloise Gynn

For a taste of Clear-Cut, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JeQJ4MaIVtU

https://www.facebook.com/CardiffMADE/

Image credits to Glyn Owens and Sarah Vaughan-Jones.
Special thanks to M.A.D.E Gallery, Sarah Vaughan-Jones and all contributors and performers for the organisation of this event.

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Review Performance at The New Theatre by Lois Arcari


Newtheatre

 

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

 

Director James Williams was placed, alongside the producers at Arts Active Wales, with the admirable but ultimately unenviable task of threading together a week’s worth of workshops, carried out by young people who had never before met, together into a show worthy of the New Theatre.

Despite the insularity that is always a potential threat to any of these types of projects, they always expand outside their form – making it a real shame this performance, perhaps weighed down by the somewhat awkward virtue of its name, wasn’t a tad more well marketed. What the Sherman NT Connections festival did so well with interpreting set theatre pieces this project did for new material.

There were, of course, lots of layers of interweaving. The more complex ideas with the weaker ones, the reasonably large age gap of performers aged 14 – 25, and of course the disciplines of circus, design, dance, art, music and the spoken word. The poetry, overseen by Literature Wales was one of the highlights, although a few themes might’ve meandered, and there were moments where politics seemed a little indelicately transposed onto some performers. Having sat in on the workshop, any chinks in the material were minute distractions against the obvious double edged sword of the time frame, and the integration of every workshopped piece into the whole.

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The ensemble for ‘Performance’ 2016

Community Music Wales where also very active in the show but where better executed and more memorable when used as a backbone for the other artforms. The Art and Design elements were the most sporadically used but well done; a Dali like background to an intense, exhaustive dance piece the most effective example. Impressive puppetry was also used, although the flashy teddy bear, turned Gothic by the lighting, would best be appreciated of those who, unlike this critic, have not been subjected to the ‘wonders’ of FNAF by younger family. No Fit State’s Circus performances showed the two most obvious flavours, a humorous but slight juggling gag to trapeze, but there will be no world in which the mastery of the latter doesn’t inspire some kind of awe.

All the elements worked well together, but Earthfall Dance had a monopoly on the night. Contemporary dance is one of those things all too easy to get wrong, viewed by the general public with cynicism, and even sometimes within the arts with a gentle wryness. In this show, it was stunning, performed by the trained dancers, with natural acting talent alongside passionate energy. It whipped up the most natural commentary and narrative of the night whilst seeming absolutely effortless. As always, simplicity was king and queen alike. Even though others without dance experience were involved, they too seemed totally natural. Whether swift and pulsating or tender and subdued, it was perfectly executed.

Overall, the pieces which were meant to form more of a cohesive story than a thematic connection were too brilliant not to hinder the more standalone pieces which would otherwise be fine if unengaging but it rather accurately depicted the current arts scene, whilst showing plenty of scope for new forms of talent. The difficulty in reviewing this was that any flaws are part of its form and therefore, any commentary can’t seem too constructive, but trying to bring young talent out of its usual spheres and into the general stage is an admirable thing. It was never going to be perfect or show any calculated insight, but it was certainly vibrant and showed plenty of the organic kind. Very much worth keeping an eye out for next year, but keeping it in context is essential for the ride.

Director: James Williams

Producer: Arts active
Assistant producers/collaborators: Literature Wales, No Fit State, Earthfall Dance, Community Music Wales, Criw Celf
Running time: 1 hr 20 mins

 

Review, Stars and Strippers, The Folly Mixtures, London Wonderground, By Hannah Goslin

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

The Folly Mixtures are a cabaret and burlesque troupe that are well known for their consistent and smooth performances using modern, remixed music, fire play and dirty comedy.

Tonight was of no exception. Listening to our compere between sections, the theme of America is picked upon satirically, with comparisons to us as Brits and our stereotypes. This is clever, at times improvised and makes us laugh at the irony of our own situation as well as the stereotypes of America.

With the performance, the different routines also pick upon stereotypes of America – the old 1950’s diner girls, baseball to even a poke at Donald Trump and the current election campaigns. We love all of these – bedazzled and glittered, the stereotypes are nothing but fun and gorgeous, high end and professional.

We are also introduced to our only male burlesque performer – Dave the Bear. While like the women, he is there to perform routines and for us to appreciate the human form, he is flirtatious with the male audience members, crude with his jokes but all of this is brilliant and comical.

My only issue with this performance is that Burlesque is known for its celebration of all body types – these woman have wonderful bodies, almost envious but very similar and lacking celebration of all women. I also find that the group performances get a little samey when solo performances would have been welcomed to showcase each performer and perhaps a little more comedy in these routines would have created a different dynamic.

Overall, the Folly Mixtures were beautiful, glamourous and skilled. A great night out none the less.

http://www.thefollymixtures.co.uk

 

Review Chicago Wales Millenium Centre by Barbara Michaels

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CHICAGO

Music and lyrics: John Kander & Fred Ebb

Book: Fred Ebb & Bob Fosse

Choreographer:  Ann Reinking

Musical Director: Ben Atkinson

Reviewer: Barbara Michaels

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Red-hot and sizzling, the multi-award winning musical Chicago, based on real life events in 1920s US, is back at the Wales Millennium Centre and judging by the bookings as popular as it was when it came here four years ago.  With its theme of greed and corruption, the contemporary relevance doesn’t need to be spelled out although the main action takes place on Death Row, where nightclub singer Roxie Hart is standing trial for shooting her lover and the feisty Velma Kelly is up for double murder.  Strong stuff indeed but the dark undercurrent of the story and plotline cannot be ignored, and neither should it be.

But – moving on – this is musical theatre, so let us not dwell on this.  The wonderful musical numbers, toe-tapping and fast, are what makes this show so popular, along with the fast-paced choreography. Chicago is above all a showcase for the original choreography of the legendary Bob Fosse.  The tunes come thick and fast, plunging straight into it with All That Jazz in Act I and never letting up, and the dancers amazing…

Chicago has been performed on stage countless times, plus the memorable film version starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, and every director understandably wants to put his or her own mark on it in terms of character portrayal.   Hayley Tamaddon is a low key Roxie with an air of fragility about her that belies the fact that this is one tough lady who will stoop as low as it takes to escape the death penalty.  Although Roxie’s story is pivotal, it is her opposite number Velma who is the strongest here and Sophie Carmen-Jones give the role her all in no uncertain manner, displaying a versatility and, in Act II, an acrobatic ability that is truly amazing.  While Carmen-Jones has the character to a T, Tamaddon’s Roxie is at times almost girl-next-door in her naivety.

Alternating in the role of Prison Matron Mama Morton, who believes in looking after ‘her girls’ – as long as her favours are reciprocated – are Gina Murray and Sam Bailey. Murray’s Mama threatened to bring the house down on press night as she belted out the iconic When You’re Good to Mama full throttle.  Great stuff!  A clever little cameo too by Francis Dee as ‘Not  guilty’Hunyak.  On the same evening, Kerry Spark took over the male lead in place of John Patrtridge, who was absent, in playing unscrupulous defence lawer Billy Flynn always on the lookout for number one and lining his pockets by defending about-to-be convicted murderers.  Amos, Neil Ditt is an experienced actor who ‘gets’ the role of Roxie’s husband, the pathetic, incompetent and ignored ‘Mr Cellophane’ (to use the title of his song) off pat.

The staging is atmospheric and costumes a delight for the eye with deftly wielded chorus line feather fans in one of the later scenes, while the  onstage orchestra under musical director Ben Atkinson, is superb, providing not only musical backing throughout but continuing to entertain after the show ends.

Runs until Saturday 30 July 2016

 

Review Chicago, Wales Millennium Centre by James Briggs

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4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

“Murder, greed, corruption, violence, exploitation, adultery and treachery…all those things we hold near and dear to our hearts “and so Cardiff welcomes the touring production of Chicago. In a first for the Wales Millennium Centre the smash hit musical Chicago has arrived to entertain packed audiences. Chicago is based on the real life events in the roaring 1920s. A nightclub singing sensation Velma murders her husband, and Chicago’s smoothest lawyer, Billy Flynn, sets out to act has her defence. But when Roxie ends up in prison on similar charges, Billy takes on her case too, turning her too into a media sensation. Neither of the two women will be surpassed in their fight against each other for fame and celebrity status.

As the audience sat down before the performance an announcement was made informing us that John Partridge who plays  lawyer Billy Flynn would not be performing due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’ and therefore the role would be played instead by his understudy Kerry Spark. Despite the obvious disappointment by some audience members we needn’t have worried as Kerry Spark gave an excellent performance.

This revival tour of Chicago showed a whole different side to the show by stripping the production back to its bare bones, with a full band positioned on a podium on stage, minimal costumes on the performers and some chairs. As an audience member, you seem to have the feeling that the music is the main star of the show and the thing you should be concentrating on most of all.

In the performance, Sophie Carmen-Jones played Velma Kelly, the tough performer awaiting trial for the murder of her husband and sister. Sophie Carmen-Jones delivers a brilliant Velma who is very confident and self-assured but still beneath her many layers is highly vulnerable.

Hayley Tamaddon is utterly sublime as Roxie Hart. Hayley Tamaddon brings out a different version of Roxie with slightly more comedy and shyness in Roxie than audiences will not have seen before. There are many moments during the performance where Roxie really comes into her own and shines like a star.

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In my opinion, the two leading ladies are perfectly matched and when they come together and perform the ‘Hot Honey Rag’ to the end of the show they are wonderfully in synch with each other bringing a smile to every audience member.

The Matron of the Cook County Jail, Mama Morton was played by Gina Murray. The role is usually played by former X Factor winner Sam Bailey however she took a break from the tour. Gina Murray was brilliant as Mama Morton and has a good mix of being stern and kind to the inmates. Her performance in the song ‘When You’re Good To Mama’ was amazing and received a loud applause from the audience.

One of the real stand out characters during the musical was A D Richardson as Mary Sunshine. Each line of the song ‘A little bit of good’ is presented with a strong sense of carefulness and delicacy. It’s an extremely gruelling role that can be extremely difficult to sing night after night, but you get one of the best vocal performances I have seen. Without giving a major plot spoiler away it is unbelievable how good the characters voice is considering the circumstances.

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Roxie’s all loving and walked upon husband Amos Hart is played by Neil Ditt. Extremely well performed, the character is worked, used and mistreated by Roxie and Billy but it is a truly wonderful performance by Neil Ditt and this is especially shown in the song Mr Cellophane which demonstrates to the audience how this extremely bland man is constantly striving to be noticed by others.

‘The 6 marry murderesses of the cook county in jail in their rendition of the cell block tango’ are outstanding with the cast consisting of Sophie Carmen-Jones, Lindsey Tierney, Ellie Mitchell, Nicola Coates, Frances Dee and Chelsea Labadini. This performance is very powerful and each character portrayed is very different with a stand out personality that draws in the audience.

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It would be very wrong to not mention the utterly divine band for the performance led by the fantastic Ben Atkinson. It truly is the icing on the cake for this touring production. All through the show the energy levels of the band were extremely high and the music blasted out around the Wales Millennium Centre. The two real highlight moments of the band was during the Entr’acte and Playout because it was then they came into their own. Ben Atkinson was conducting upside down leaning over a wall and climbing over the staging while leading his band. He finally ended up draped over the piano upside down with his band dancing around the stage. An utterly amazing performance.

You don’t want to be ‘Mister Cellophane’ so make yourself seen and go and watch Chicago: The Musical at the Wales Millennium Centre. The musical is showing between 25th  Jul – 30th  Jul 2016. Tickets are selling fast so please make sure you get them via this link-

https://www.wmc.org.uk/Productions/2016-2017/DonaldGordonTheatre/Chicago15/

Lucky Trimmer: Made in Wales! by Helen Joy

3f390b2aae         #luckytrimmer Does Wales! 

As always, a warm welcome to all of us from the National Dance Company Wales as we pile into their building.

A welcome compounded by a delightful duet of introduction from the Lucky Trimmer co-ordinators & we all settle into our seats to watch & wait, excited & curious.

So, piece by piece here we go:

How Should I Explain

Dark stage, thick music, a bright light character in green & white confronts us & we are off to a great start. Dachauer’s punchy performance to the familiar & comforting Viennese Waltz is athletic, energetic & when she smiles broadly at us, as welcoming as our hosts. I do not know the story she is telling perhaps as well as I should but enough to follow, enjoy & find amusement here & there. The relishing of the power of her body controlled through dance is palpable.

Grandmother

Foscarini is incredible to watch. I don’t notice the music. I don’t notice the audience around me or my friend beside me. She is mesmeric. Hard, blunt physicality spot-lit; flashes of memory in dance. When the lights go out, I hear her patter across the stage & we hold our communal breath waiting for illumination. It is beautiful & crippling.

Moments – Performatives Spazieren

Well. Clever clever stuff, Taguchi. A floor unpicks itself in an empty room. Its wooden planking parades around Berlin to music, making music & cutting its own path as is dances through streets & parks & people. It is very funny but we do not laugh much as the inanimate lives & breathes & becomes a floor once more. I am reminded of the first time I saw a pianola. It feels strangely out of place yet perfectly placed.

El Pie (The Foot)

And more on the theme of morphe & matter, resurrection, the bringing of life.

Her body falls in front of us & Marote lies dead to us. One foot revives quickly & playfully, angrily, sadly, cleverly cajoles & bullies its owner back to life. Macabre, hilarious, kind & tear-jerking, this dance plays with us. I think on horror stories of hands having lives of their own, of puppetry, of people painting with their feet & toes holding brushes as well as any fingers. Of electricity forcing body hearts to beat, of the lust in the living to will the dead to live. And the utter joy when breath is taken & the lights come on. I love it.

Floating Flowers

Tsai & Chen – one flower, two dancers; two dancers, two flowers; two flowers, one dancer… pretty, quirky, surreal & complicated, this homage to beliefs & traditions I can easily believe will send away bad luck & bring happiness – how could something so delightful, not?

monoLOG

Lefeuvre is less stripped than the others, faintly lumberjacky, plaid & chappy, clutching his lump of wood. This doesn’t feel like a dance. It feels like a séance, a spirit creeping out of the log & into his arm & into his senses. It is hard stuff. Difficult to watch. A take-over, a trick, a phantasmagoric illusion. I like this least but am sure I will remember it the longest.

Bernadette

I’ve seen this before, recently obviously. I loved it then & I loved it still. Expectation made it a little quicker, less comical & more tragic. She was longer lying on that table this time I thought, a little sadder. Does that say more of me than Bernadette?

Finn is a confident performer, a cool dancer as much at home with her apple pie as with her cold chicken, a story-teller & a mimic, a giver of life.

4 Stars

 

Event:              Lucky Trimmer Does Wales!

National Dance Company Wales

 

Seen:               7.30pm, 16th July, 2016

Reviewer:        Helen Joy for 3rd Act Critics

Running:          16th July, 2016

Cost :                 £10 / ticket

 

Links:               www.luckytrimmer.com

www.ndcwales.co.uk