Category Archives: Dance

REVIEW, MIST, FILM BROADCAST, NEDERLANDS DANS THEATER BY JAMES ELLIS

Photo Credit: Rahi Rezvani
5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

It’s a new year with new beginnings. Whilst we haven’t quite licked the pandemic just yet, it seems that streaming and how we view things will remain this way for a little longer. Let’s continue to be patient.

Dance is an acquired taste and my pallet is hungry for more. Across the North Sea, a new work of filmed dance has stunned this critic. Dancers lie on the stage as smoke drifts around them, a transgressive sight and truly one of our time. This just might be one of the finest moments of theatre I will see this year. Damien Jalet might be evoking the mood of theatre practitioner Grotowski with dancers who rarely rise to their feet, here languishing in smoky evocations. Every movement is graceful, yet feels like a mighty effort. We are forever with them in these vividly detailed moments.

This majestic, haunting sight harks to the natural features of The Netherlands, how wind and fog embellish the lowlands. Other moments felt these dancers were flung into a tornado, these bodies wading through the air. They glide around as if almost in water, poetry in slow motion feels the right descriptor. Most amazing of all, the film has no alterations in speed, these artists are moving that obtusely. I didn’t want to feel like the imagery could evoke the Holocaust, though this was hard to get out of my head. Even anime Attack on Titan came to mind, seeing these figures sprawled out and steaming at the same time.

With concept and sets by Kohei Nawa, him and Janet seem to make magic on stage with past work also eye-bulging sights. The sublime soundscape of Christian Fennes is the perfect addition to this already heightened contact. We hear foghorns, gentle and minimal looping, along with some soaring ambience. The music is worthy of it’s own release, I dare say. Shadow and projection conclude the hour long piece, with some stimulating execution with a darkly phased gleam.

In an interview seen after, Jalet, speaks of the influence of Shinto and The Tibetan Book of the Dead. The afterlife or even the other-world feels true to this performance, one which wont be forgotten in a hurry. He takes pride in the birds-eye-view shot of the dancers who appears to be gracing a river, the mist here awash, both exquisite and flowing. We can’t argue with him about that.

Book to stream Mist on Nederlands Dans Theater’s website, with screenings till 8 Jan 22.

Artists confirmed for Tŷ Cerdd and National Dance Company Wales collaborative short film series

National Dance Company Wales and Tŷ Cerdd will make five short films working with music creators and dance artists based or working in Wales, in a series called Plethu: affricerdd.

Tŷ Cerdd have commissioned five music-creators of African descent living and working in Wales as part of a collaboration with the Sub-Sahara Advisory Panel. The films are a part of affricerdd, a strand of Tapestri, which is a new initiative (funded by Arts Council of Wales’s Connect & Flourish programme) to create a living musical archive of the people, languages and communities of Wales.

National Dance Company Wales have commissioned five dance artists from any discipline to work in collaboration with these five music-creators to make original short films or music videos. There have been 15 Plethu/Weave films to date which can be watched for free on digital hub on the NDCWales website.

The films will be released between January and July 2022. Follow @ndcwales and @TyCerdd_org for release dates. The five Plethu: affricerdd partnerships are:

Idrissa Camara and Eric Martin Kamosi
Music-creator Eric Martin Kamosi is a guitarist and electronic musician, who creates folk, rock, concrete, electronic and minimal music using a variety of instruments, field recordings and electronic sounds.  Idrissa trained from a young age with the renowned Ballet Bassikolo du Guinee. He has been principal choreographer with many leading dance companies in Guinea and Senegal and pioneered the teaching of dance to the hearing impaired at the Visual Theatre Company of the National Association of Sports and Culture for the Deaf.

June Campbell Davies and Seun Babatola (A.K.A Mista B)
A.K.A Mista B is a musician, lyricist and socially conscious rapper.  His musical tastes vary from break-beat to metal to trip-hop, and he believes, at heart, that genre is simply a veneer. June is a Cardiff based dancer, choreographer and carnival artist. June has also worked collaboratively as a singer and sound artist on a number of albums as well as being a consultant & facilitator with Butetown Carnival.

Kitsch n Sync and E11ICE
E11ICE is the alter-ego of Cornwall-born Cardiff based multi-genre singer and rapper Thalia Ellice Richardson. Melding thoughtful melodies with conscious lyrics on powerful flows E11ICE’s music reflects her journey through each day making the ordinary extraordinary. Taking inspiration from all things retro, vintage and wonderfully absurd, Kitsch & Sync Collective is immediately recognisable by their innovative brand of curiously quirky dance theatre.

Rosanna Carless and Sizwe Chitiyo
Born in Harare, Zimbabwe, Sizwe ‘SZWÉ’ Chitiyo is a 23-year-old singer, rapper and songwriter based in South Wales. After starting his music career professionally 4 years ago, Sizwe played acoustic sets around Wales before venturing into electronic production 3 years ago. Rosanna grew up in Aberystwyth before moving to Bristol and eventually London, where she fell in love with street dance and breakin’.
After joining a number of street dance crews, Rosanna battled as a solo B-girl at events and conventions, winning third place in ‘London’s best street dance crew’. Rosanna has since worked with companies such as HSBC and Sony as well as with musical artists such as Giggs, STylo G and Wiley.

Gundija Zandersona and Jeferson Lobo
Brazilian-born Jefferson Lobo is a musician, composer, and producer living in Cardiff. His music is an invitation to a world of unpredictable sonic possibilities: sweet harmonies combined with soothing and witty melodies, form the basis for his musical cauldron with a pinch of jazz, orchestral, Latin, reggae, futuristic and world music. Gundija Zandersona is a Latvian performer, choreographer and an educator based in Wales, Cardiff. As an executive director of Kokoro Arts Ltd and an independent dance artist she works across a variety of genres including work for families and young audiences, spoken text and movement, physical theatre and contemporary dance.

A further two films made in collaboration with Literature Wales, that fuse poetry and dance, will join these five films made in partnership with Ty Cerdd to complete a third series of Plethu/Weave films produced by National Dance Company Wales.

Idrissa Camara
Born in Guinea Conakry in West Africa, Idrissa trained from a young age with the renowned Ballet Bassikolo du Guinee. He has been principal choreographer with many leading dance companies in Guinea and Senegal and pioneered the teaching of dance to the hearing impaired at the Visual Theatre Company of the National Association of Sports and Culture for the Deaf. In 2010 Idrissa, who is also a musician founded Wales’s only professional Black dance/music company, Ballet Nimba. His innovative ideas have taken the UK by storm and with his direction, Ballet Nimba has combined traditional dance roots with dynamic young performers and an original musical score. Idrissa has curated many successful productions throughout Wales and beyond.


Rosanna Carless
Rosanna grew up in Aberystwyth before moving to Bristol and eventually London, where she fell in love with street dance and breakin’. After joining a number of street dance crews, Rosanna battled as a solo B-girl at events and conventions, winning third place in ‘London’s best street dance crew’. Rosanna has since worked with companies such as HSBC and Sony as well as with musical artists such as Giggs, STylo G and Wiley. Rosanna returned to Wales to have her son, and studied to become a Bwy yoga teacher. Rosanna still teaches dance regularly, and has toured with educational and street dance performances, and worked on the Lead creative scheme projects as well as joining National Dance Company Wales as a Dance Ambassador.
@warriorprincessrosa


Gundija Zandersona
Gundija Zandersona is a Latvian performer, choreographer and an educator based in Wales, Cardiff.
As an executive director of Kokoro Arts Ltd and an independent dance artist she works across a variety of genres including work for families and young audiences, spoken text and movement, physical theatre and contemporary dance. Trained in Latvia, Denmark and the UK, she has been working internationally for the last 6 years creating and reviewing performance works.


Sizwe Chivito
Born in Harare, Zimbabwe, Sizwe ‘SZWÉ’ Chitiyo is a 23 year old singer, rapper and songwriter based in South Wales. After starting his music career professionally 4 years ago, Sizwe played acoustic sets around South Wales before venturing into electronic production 3 years ago. Having achieved Spotify Playlisting, National Radio Play and a new Project Manager role for Beacons Cymru, his goal now is to build a hub for Urban Music to thrive in Wales and produce a new wave of sound.

Jeferson Lobo
Musician, composer, and producer Cardiff-based Brazilian-born Jefferson Lobo has been working on his compositions and arrangements for the last couple of years and will be releasing music from his catalogue throughout the year. Jefferson’s compositions are an invitation to a world of unpredictably sonic possibilities, hauntingly sweet harmonies combined with soothing and (at times) witty melodies, form the basis for his musical cauldron which included styles such as jazz, orchestral, Latin, reggae, futuristic, and world music. He has worked with August 012 (theater company), on BBC radio productions, has written, scored, and arranged music for the Butetwon Carnival 2020 and 2021 with special highlights to his transatlantic piece called ” Zamba ” commissioned by BACA


Seun Babatola
A.K.A Mista B is a musician, lyricist and socially conscious rapper.  Born in Nigeria, he spent the first few years of life in Cardiff, then lived in Ibadan (Nigeria), London and Birmingham, before returning to Wales. His musical tastes vary from break-beat to metal to trip-hop, and he believes, at heart, that genre is simply a veneer. Real music will reach out, regardless of the style.  Perfection in substance, not presentation.


Eric Martin Kamosi
Eric Martin Kamosi is a guitarist, electronic musician and composer who creates folk, rock, concrete, electronic and minimal music using a variety of instruments, field recordings and electronic sounds. He has written and performed for professional dance and physical theatre and created music installations, sound design, algorithmic compositions and music for live instruments as part of a BA (Hons) ‘Creative Sound and Music’ degree from the University of South Wales and a Master’s degree in ‘Digital Composition and Performance’. Having taken part in a media composition traineeship and created music for screen and live theatre, Eric continues to be interested in working with artists from a wide range of disciplines.


June Campbell-Davies
June is a Cardiff Based Dancer, Choreographer and Carnival Artist. She trained at the Laban Centre for Movement & Dance in London before working with Moving Being Mixed Media Theatre Company, Dance Wales, Cwmni Dawns Gwylan, Welsh Independent Dance and Cwmni Whare Teg. June then taught at Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, Cardiff Metropolitan University and for Rubicon Dance, where she taught for their community, arts and health and education strands. June has also worked collaboratively as a singer and sound artist on a number of albums as well as being a consultant & facilitator with Butetown Carnival and has worked on several community projects involving dance in schools, documentary videos and at Hospitals.

June continues to perform, for Striking Attitude Dance Company for senior performers and works with Oasis One World Choir leading movement sessions with Refugee & Asylum Seekers. In May 2021 June was selected for an R & D commission to create a site specific body of work for Artes Mundi 9.

Kitsch & Sync
Taking inspiration from all things retro, vintage and wonderfully absurd, Kitsch & Sync Collective is immediately recognisable by their innovative brand of curiously quirky dance theatre. Taking fashions, fads and toe-tapping tunes, to create an infectious blend of highly visual choreography , colourful characters and a dressing-up box bursting with enough vintage clobber to make your gran proud! Kim Noble and Kylie Ann Smith fuse different dance genres, unusual props and a dash of audience interaction to bring you something truly unique. Kitsch & Sync was set up in 2011 and have built up a reputation for itself as one of Wales’s most exciting, original and eclectic companies. 

If you recognise the name, it may be because you have seen the trio perform at the award-winning Festival Number 6, Green Man Festival or at the Edinburgh Fringe. Perhaps you spotted them at The TATE Britain as part of the David Hockney exhibition, dancing in Goldie Lookin Chain’s music videos or Jarvis Cocker’s DJ set, or you may have seen their picture on the front of The Sunday Times and in the Guardian. You may have danced your socks off at one of the group’s popular electro-swing hop dance classes or at the Depot’s infamous Bingo Lingo nights! Their alter-egos, The Lampshade Ladies, also made a surprise appearance on BBC Two’s Have I Got News for You. This may even be your first venture into the curiously quirky world of Kitsch & Sync. Either way, you’re in for a treat.

 These ferocious females have a large repertoire of small scale outdoor shows, full length theatre and circus Shows and a plethora of walkabout characters that have been performed all over Wales, UK and now internationally. They have received funding from Arts Council Wales, National Theatre Wales, the Millennium Centre- Blysh Festival, Coreo Cymru, and commissions from Articulture and festivals such as The Big Splash, Wilderness, Kendall Calling, Appetite ‘The Homecoming’ – Circus 250 and toured with the Northern Touring Network, as well as various arts festival across the UK and beyond. Kitsch & Sync are also represented by a London agent- Contraband and have performed in clubs, warehouses, cafes and shop windows (amongst many other unusual spaces!).

E11ICE
E11ICE is the alter-ego of Cornwall born Cardiff based multi-genre singer and rapper Thalia Ellice Richardson. A core member of Cardiff based community initiative Ladies of Rage Cardiff E11ICE’s inimitable live performances have made her an integral feature of any Ladies of Rage live showcase. Melding thoughtful melodies with conscious lyrics E11ICE’s music reflects her journey through each day making the ordinary extraordinary. E11ICE’s live performances range from stripped back sets on the mic to full jazz band productions each time E11ICE steps to the stage she seeks to bring something fresh to her audience.

Artistiaid wedi’u cadarnhau ar gyfer cyfres ffilmiau byrion gydweithredol Tŷ Cerdd a Chwmni Dawns Cenedlaethol Cymru.

Bydd Cwmni Dawns Cenedlaethol Cymru a Thŷ Cerdd yn gwneud pum ffilm fer gan gydweithio â chrewyr cerddoriaeth ac artistiaid dawns sy’n byw neu’n gweithio yng Nghymru, mewn cyfres o’r enw Plethu: affricerdd.

Mae Tŷ Cerdd wedi comisiynu pum crëwr cerddoriaeth o dras Affricanaidd sy’n byw ac yn gweithio yng Nghymru, fel rhan o fenter gydweithredol â Phanel Cynghori’r Is-Sahara. Mae’r ffilmiau’n rhan o affricerdd, un o geinciau Tapestri, menter newydd (a ariennir gan raglen Cysylltu a Ffynnu Cyngor Celfyddydau Cymru) i greu archif gerddorol fyw o bobl, ieithoedd a chymunedau Cymru.

Yn ôl Deborah Keyser, Cyfarwyddwr Tŷ Cerdd: “Gwefr arbennig i ni yw cydweithio â CDCCymru ar Plethu:affricerdd. Mae prosiect Plethu CDCC gyda Llenyddiaeth Cymru wedi bod yn gymaint o ysbrydoliaeth ac mae’r cyfle i greu partneriaeth newydd rhwng crewyr cerddoriaeth ac artistiaid dawns yn cynnig gorwelion artistig newydd bendigedig.  Pleser o’r mwyaf i ni yw cyhoeddi’r parau – mi wyddon ni’n ddi-os y bydd y canlyniadau’n plesio.”

Mae Cwmni Dawns Cenedlaethol Cymru wedi comisiynu’r pum artist dawns o unrhyw ddisgyblaeth i gydweithio â’r pum crëwr cerddoriaeth hyn i wneud ffilmiau byrion neu fideos cerddoriaeth gwreiddiol. Hyd yma cafwyd 15 o ffilmiau Plethu y gellir eu gwylio am ddim ar yr hyb digidol ar wefan CDCCymru.

 “Rydyn ni wrth ein boddau cydweithio â Thŷ Cerdd ar Plethu: affricerdd, esblygiad pellach yn y prosiect Plethu sydd erbyn hyn yn paru artistiaid dawns â chrewyr cerddoriaeth. Mae prosiectau â chydweithredu’n ganolog iddynt yn rhan o’m huchelgais a’m gweledigaeth i CDCCymru ac mi ydw i’n edrych ymlaen at weld canlyniad y partneriaethau hyn ar draws ffurfiau ar gelfyddyd yn y pum ffilm newydd.” Matthew Robinson, Cyfarwyddwr Artistig, CDCCymru.

Rhyddheir y ffilmiau rhwng mis Ionawr a mis Gorffennaf 2022. Dilynwch @ndcwales a @TyCerdd_org am y dyddiadau rhyddhau. Y pum partneriaeth Plethu: affricerdd yw:

Idrissa Camara ac Eric Martin Kamosi
Gitarydd a cherddor electronig yw’r crëwr cerddoriaeth Eric Martin Kamosi sy’n creu cerddoriaeth werin, roc, diriaethol, electronig a minimalaidd gan ddefnyddio amrywiaeth o offerynnau, recordiadau maes a synau electronig. Hyfforddodd Idrissa o oedran ifanc gyda’r enwog Fale Bassikolo du Guinee. Ef fu’r prif goreograffydd gyda llawer o gwmnïau dawns blaenllaw yng Ngini a Senegal ac yn arloeswr wrth ddysgu’r ddawns i’r rhai sydd â nam ar eu clyw yng Nghwmni Theatr Weledol y Gymdeithas Genedlaethol Chwaraeon a Diwylliant i’r Byddar.


June Campbell Davies a Seun Babatola (A.K.A Mista B)
Cerddor, awdur geiriau a rapiwr sy’n gymdeithasol effro yw A.K.A Mista B. Amrywiai ei chwaeth gerddorol o frêc-bît i fetel i drip-hop ac mae’n credu yn y bôn mai dim ond haenen sgleiniog yw genre. Dawnswraig, coreograffydd ac artist carnifal o Gaerdydd yw June. Mae hi hefyd wedi gweithio’n gydweithredol fel cantores ac artist sain ar sawl albwm yn ogystal â bod yn ymgynghorydd ac yn hwylusydd gyda Charnifal Butetown.

Kitsch n Sync ac E11ICE
Hunan arall yw E11ICE y gantores a rapwraig amlgenre a aned yng Nghernyw ac sy’n byw yng Nghaerdydd, Thalia Ellice Richardson. Yn cyfuno alawon a geiriau meddylgar ar lifau grymus, mae cerddoriaeth E11ICE yn adlewyrchu ei siwrnai drwy bob dydd gan wneud y cyffredin yn anghyffredin. Gan dynnu ysbrydoliaeth o bopeth sy’n retro, vintage a rhyfeddol o wirion, mae rhywun yn nabod menter gydweithredol Kitsch & Sync yn syth wrth eu brand arloesol o theatr ddawns hynod a difyr.

Rosanna Carless a Sizwe Chitiyo
Wedi’i eni yn Harare, Zimbabwe, canwr, rapiwr a chyfansoddwr caneuon 23 oed yw Sizwe ‘SZWÉ’ Chitiyo sy’n byw yn ne Cymru. Ar ôl dechrau ei yrfa gerddorol yn broffesiynol 4 blynedd yn ôl, byddai Sizwe yn chwarae setiau acwstig o gwmpas Cymru cyn mentro i gynhyrchu electronig 3 blynedd yn ôl. Maged Rosanna yn Aberystwyth cyn symud i Fryste ac, yn y pen draw, Lundain lle y syrthiodd mewn cariad â dawns y stryd a brêcin.
Ar ôl ymuno â sawl criw dawns y stryd, bu Rozanna yn brwydro fel B-girl unigol mewn digwyddiadau a chonfensiynau gan ennill y trydydd lle yn ‘Criw Dawns y Stryd Gorau Llundain’. Ers hynny mae Rosanna wedi gweithio gyda chwmnïau fel HSBC a Sony yn ogystal â chydag artistiaid cerddorol fel Giggs, STylo G a Wiley.

Gundija Zandersona a Jeferson Lobo
Wedi’i eni ym Mrasil, cerddor, cyfansoddwr a chynhyrchydd yw Jefferson Lobo sy’n byw yng Nghaerdydd. Gwahoddiad yw ei gerddoriaeth i fyd o bosibiliadau sonig anrhagweladwy: cytseiniau melys wedi’u cyfuno ag alawon llyfn a ffraeth sy’n ffurfio sylfaen ei bair cerddorol, gyda phinsiad o gerddoriaeth jazz, gerddorfaol, Ladin, reggae, ddyfodolaidd a cherddoriaeth fyd. Perfformwraig, coreograffydd ac addysgwraig o Latfia yw Gundija Zandersona sy’n byw yng Nghaerdydd. Fel cyfarwyddwr gweithredol i Kokoro Arts Cyf. ac artist dawns annibynnol, mae’n gweithio ar draws amrywiaeth o genres gan gynnwys gwaith i deuluoedd a chynulleidfaoedd ifainc, testun llafar a symudiad, theatr gorfforol a dawns gyfoes.

Bydd dwy ffilm arall a wnaethpwyd ar y cyd â Llenyddiaeth Cymru ac sy’n cyfuno barddoniaeth a dawns yn cael eu hychwanegu at y pum ffilm yma a wnaethpwyd mewn partneriaeth â Thŷ Cerdd i gwblhau trydedd gyfres o ffilmiau Plethu i’w cynhyrchu gan Gwmni Dawns Cenedlaethol Cymru.

Review, Dog Show, The Pleasance Theatre, By Hannah Goslin

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

In the upstairs of The Pleasance Theatre, in the cabaret space, a unusual and interesting world unfolds. Firstly, I want to comment on this space and how brilliant it is with what the theatre has done. And it felt sophisticated and relaxing like the 1920’s cabaret theatres of old.

Dog Show is a cabaret meets storytale by the masterminds that are Ginger Johnson and David Cummings. Think drag meets Battersea Dogs Home… in fact, this is the aptly named Crappersea Dogs Home, and we are all the mangey mutts that have been left here. At Christmas, we are told to be on our best behaviour while the highly stylised drag-dogs show us the best ways to be a dog, the dirtiest ways to be a dog, and how we can too find a home for Christmas.

This is, without a doubt, the most unusual of Christmas shows but I think this would be a great start to your Christmas theatre season. It is rude, it is funny, it is utterly hyper real. Each performer has their own Drag-Dog persona: The utterly glamourous who reminded me much of the Poodle in Oliver and Company, the social media Pug star, the raggedy mutt who is a little deranged and so many more. Each are given their own performance moments and they are crude, they are hilarious and in a weird way, recognisable. For instance, a feature of a dog being lustful with a footstool, a age old tale that we hear about dogs and their strange behaviours.

There is also comments and stories that relate to the history of dogs such as the first dog in space. Many were laughing at this, but actually the whole scene was very sincere and quite emotional. It was that perfect addition to the comedy and the camp (although, featuring a swing on stage is a little of both anyway).

Unfortunately for Dog Show, Drag and Cabaret really thrives on its audience and for some unknown reason, the atmosphere wasn’t there. Jokes and beautiful moments fell on deaf ears and while I was cackling in the corner, I felt awful for the performers that there wasn’t that oomph from the audience to support their creativity.

Dog Show is full of comedy, of s-mutt, with excellent content and vision, not to mention beautiful costumes and even more beautiful performers. With a ready and willing audience, they could reach the stars!

Supporting Dance in Wales, Richard Chappell Dance, currently have three active call outs for Dance Artists.



Supporting Acts Commissioned Choreographer


We are commissioning one choreographer via call out to join the first selection of early career artists on our Supporting Acts Programme. This includes a £2,500 R and D commission, residency support with our partners, funds for a collaborator, performance programming and year round mentoring. More information: https://www.richardchappelldance.co.uk/support-acts-callout-for-early-career-choreographers?fbclid=IwAR06ywakBamCLVBzs4Nsot8aHfWV3WkoXqteVLRq30wcy-ShiRaiLBMgmnI

Community Champion: Abergavenny


We are recruiting for a Community Champion who has a current or previous connection to Abergavenny to support our local engagement in the region alongside myself and Supporting Acts Choreographer. This will include engagement with Dance Blast and local musicians. More Information: https://www.richardchappelldance.co.uk/community-champion-call-out-abergavenny

RCD Ensemble Dancer


We are currently accepting audition applications for our 2022 season (February-October 22) for dance artists to join our performance ensemble to tour my works Infinite Ways Home and Silence Between Waves. More Information: https://www.richardchappelldance.co.uk/dancer-audition-for-2022-season

Review, Outwitting The Devil, Akram Khan Company, Sadlers Well’s, By Hannah Goslin

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Akram Khan is always on the lips of anyone who I speak to regarding dance. I’ve always missed out on their shows and been gutted by this. The fusion of traditional dance with contemporary, exploring the limits of the body has massively interested me and so I was greatly excited to finally see this company.

And by God, am I glad I did. From start to finish, I couldn’t take my eyes off the stage. Suspended into darkness, no one else was there but me and the dancers as they told a ancient tale through physicality.

Outwitting the Devil derives its narrative from the Mesopotamian tale of Giglamesh – The Gods punish King Giglamesh for destroying the cedar forest and killing its guardian. They kill his friend, a tamed wild man. Soon realising the truth about life and mortality, he fades away into memory and history.

What instantly made me appreciate this piece the most was the difference in performers – different race, cultures, ages and gender are represented, highlighting the westernised process of dance, merging into traditional Indian dance, to generally contorting and throwing their bodies. Khan mentions in an interview in the programme that he wanted to ensure that older performers are more represented, and I am in awe at what is possible by any body. This was only a small detail at the beginning, when I forgot about the outside world and was fully in this story – ages, gender, race, shouldn’t be a point and it certainly wasn’t in telling the story of life. A story that any culture could relate to. And by being told through dance, it of course gives way to allowing any audience to interpret their own story.

The aesthetic was dark, it was earthy, it was primitive, animalistic but also contrasting with robotic movements, as if they were being controlled, with classical and instrumental music being juxtaposed by electronic sounds. The movement, sound and change of story kept us on our toes, and almost made you want to look away in case it made you jump, but like a thriller or horror, you still want to watch despite this.

As expected, the movements and dance itself are just breath taking. Fluid, yet silent, all the performers move across the stage with such grace and silence – they interact with one another and defy gravity and science with how they move their bodies and use the space. It is enticing and I’m pretty sure I forgot to blink.

The piece is also incredibly moving – I don’t know what it was but something about it reduced me to tears; perhaps it was how we can relate the state of the world to this crumbling decay of a world on stage; perhaps it was the relationships, the shocking events; perhaps it was the emotion you can feel through every muscle flex; perhaps it was everything.

Outwitting The Devil is absolutely incredible, mesmerizing and moving beyond anything I have seen before. This is dance, and dance at its most perfect state.

Review, The Snowman, Peacock Theatre, By Hannah Goslin

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

This is my second time seeing The Snowman, on stage. Granted, a few years have passed and in a way, this was great in making me see it with new eyes.

If you do not know the story of The Snowman, it is the tale that is on the screens of us brits every Christmas. A little boy makes a Snowman that one night, comes to life. They encounter lots of exciting events from a Snowman party with Father Christmas, to wearing his Dad’s clothes to, what is the most commonly well known part of the story, flying.

This time around, I had help in the form of my 4 year old Nephew. Obsessed with Christmas, this was the third production I have ever taken him to. The first, he was just a baby, but the last one being in Summer, he is the ultimate theatre go-er. Not one of these loud children, he is just mesmerized by the production as a whole.

The whole thing was very magical – with an element of dance (this is The Peacock Theatre after all), it is fluid and gentle and graceful. Even the throwing of a snowball, or angry Mum at a broken window is full of gentle feeling. The Snowman we are used to is driven by what you can see and beautiful music underneath, picking up little moments and enhancing moments with a crash of a cymbal or a fast trill on a violin. Spoken language is not needed. And this production has kept this the same. It works. It is a dance production and dance is there to evoke the narrative and the emotions – therefore a marriage made in heaven.

I felt transported back to my own childhood and watching it for the first time, the same feeling I have every year I watch it on TV and seeing the awe in my nephew’s eyes, it was clear he was feeling this as well.

While for an adult approaching 30, an interval is a nice addition – time for that ice cream that feels right to have at Christmas, I did experience that perhaps this isn’t the best for a 4 year old. Most children’s productions do a straight hour and bam, home time. Their concentration has reached its peak and they want snacks. This production adds elements to the story – a bad guy, some characters we have never seen before, extra dance elements and while beautiful and lovely and still very magical, I think the elongation of the show was a bit too much for a 4 year old. Knowing Father Christmas features, he just wanted to get to that bit and see his hero, not to see the Snowman have a love interest.

The Snowman is everything and more. Magical, nostalgia inducing for us oldies, fascinating to the little ones. Perhaps just a little long for kids, while aimed at their age, perhaps a condense to the original story would be better.

REVIEW OUT LATE/BLKDOG THE PLACE/SADLER’S WELLS BY JAMES ELLIS

Photo credit: Tristram Kenton 

*** (3/5) Out Late


***** (5/5) BLKDOG

First time back in London after the pandemic and I’m seeing as much as I can. I devoured everything from local theatre productions, to huge 5 hour operas, basically everything the capitol can offer. A chilly Saturday would be a day of dance, with some serious and important topics to consider.

Popping over to The Place, I was met with an afternoon from VOXED and their Out Late. This is a homoerotic whodunnit where there dancers act as well as move. This was a surprise in that the words played as an important a role as the dance, as we become drawn into this world. Vinnie, played by a strident Angus MacRae, guides us in the afterlife through the whole encounter with Sebastian, taken on by a fierce Folu Odimayo. Set in both Cardiff and London, the meat of the drama comes from betrayal from Sebastian married to Fifi, an absorbing Caldonia Walton who gets most of the sympathy, with a secret abortion swept under the rug.

You want to know how exactly Vinnie died. Was it murder? An accident? Suicide? The choreography by Wayne Parsons has a great flow and connection to it, maintaining control in the space. Many intimate moments between both men proves the love formulating. Sadly, a closeted character who ruins lives in the process of living a double life is infuriating in today’s climate. We’ve seen this type of character many times and the phrase ‘bury your gays’ also comes to mind. Vinne’s attempt at blackmail does feel out of left field, the only real ‘justification’ for his death. Composer and sound designer Angus MacRae really adds to the feel of the piece with a nuanced score which heightens the affair and the ramifications from it. Out Late wants to hang on the mystery of who killed Vinnie, only due to the intimacy of the piece do we absolutely want to find out what exactly happened.

Finding my route to Sadler’s Wells, I found myself pumped to finally make it to this beacon of dance. With a buzzing atmosphere BLKDOG by Botis Seva in it’s complete version winded viewers in its second night. This was a compelling experience, as a diverse troupe of dancers were as if a locomotive hellbent on cracking the ground beneath them. I was awash in the epic execution of the whole encounter, Seva facing the demons of yesteryear. Childhood abuse, mental health and crime all play a factor. Without being reductive, seeing the killings take place can only evoke the more horrid moments seen in the public eye over the past year and a half. Though the bodies and mourners look more like Christ taken from the cross, Seva’s being quite frank about his faith.

The dancers have a physicality I’ve seen very little in big scale dance. Even just the moments knee-bent and going on tippy-toes never failed to amaze. It’s the wild, rite-like movement that commands the space. Soaring and pounding music by Torben Lars Sylvest is another key component, the beats making the walls reverberate. Tom Visser’s lighting is darkly lit for the most part, a harsh terrain though still vivid on this beautiful stage. You only need to look the standing ovation at the curtain to know the effect this is having on people. A post show talk ending with another ovation, saw Seva quite overcome with emotion. I think we will be certainly seeing more of this piece and I really hope it comes to Wales.

Out Late tours to Scarborough at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Thu 25 & 26 Nov 2021

Review HERE, National Dance Company Wales, Theatr Clwyd by Alicia Jelley

I immersed myself in dance on Friday by watching @ndcwales perform their triple bill production, HERE at @theatrclwyd

I’d seen ‘Afterimage’ by @_fernando_melo before on a previous tour, but it was still just as mesmerising as the first time and if not more profound after lockdown, as the theme of being disconnected to one another and ourselves struck a poignant chord.

‘Why are people clapping?!’ by @ed.myhill might have been my personal favorite. Highlighting that rhythm is at the core of dance, and that the human being can become a percussion instrument capable of making music simply by clapping at different tempos with light and shade was fun to watch. Not to mention the facial expressions

Lastly ‘Moving is everywhere, forever’ by @fayefayefaye.tan definitely had myself and most the audience tapping and moving in their seats. Dance is therapy, and expression of the soul, a release. It makes you feel good and fulfills a basic human need to move the body. Dance is for everyone

You can catch the tour at Aberystwyth Arts Centre on Tuesday the 9th Nov, more information here

Review, Immersive Gatsby, Immersive LDN, By Hannah Goslin

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Greeted at the door by a man with an excellent hospitable nature and his 1920’s attire on, in the heart of London, we enter into what feels like some form of speakeasy at the top of this lovely building, where the doors open and you are (nicely) bashed in the face with jazz music and dancing.

Immersive Gatsby is based upon the well known American Novel, The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald, which you likely know from recent film adaptations, or were subjected to at school. I admit, that I have a love/hate relationship with the novel, mainly with school ruining it. But as adaptions in film and theatre continue, I appreciate it more in older age.

The story is about old lovers who meet in later life. Both changed dramatically, their love is reignited but is doomed by circumstance, by gossip and cheating, by lies and love. And so we see them fall in love but also fight for one another, amongst the many love triangles.

The story of Gatsby is well known for the fact the character of Jay Gatsby throws lavish parties where anyone who is anyone will be. Full of booze, of colours, dancing and care free lifestyles, and this is what we initially get a taste of. The performers do quintessential moves from the 1920’s, in their beautiful and stylish outfits, encouraging us to dance, and at one point, putting us through a dance class. Certainly a good way to have a great night out and feel pleasantly out of your comfort zone.

The joy of Immersive theatre, especially in large venues, is that there are pockets of events happening in different rooms, in little groups, in corners of the room. Depending where you are placed, you may get to chat with Daisy about her love for Jay, or Muriel about her love affair. Not everyone gets to go in another room, or be spoken to and that’s what makes each experience different to the last. This is what makes you want to go again; to fill your FOMO needs.

However, with this, it can also feel a little frustrating. The placements of the rooms are almost in each corner and until you realise this, it’s entirely possible you won’t be lucky enough to be whisked away in the group. It’s impossible to be sure everyone out of potentially 150 people in a room has had their turn to see the new spaces. And so we unfortunately left with only seeing the main area and 1 extra room. I wouldn’t say we felt cheated but it certainly wetted our curiosity appetite and left us a little deflated with the knowledge there were scenes and rooms we never saw.

I was lucky enough to be taken away on my own with the character Muriel. My social awkwardness did not help here but it was really interesting to go into this quiet room and talk with the character as if we were old friends. A very special part of the evening indeed.

Knowing the story well, it confused me that character’s seemed to be doubling up and being put in parts of the story that they were not in the novel. It is clearly for logistical reasons, and they do well to keep in character and to continue the momentum, so we enjoy this as it is but it conflicts what we know about about the story and somehow undermines some of Fitzgerald’s intentions. Some characters also didn’t come across as they were intended in the novel and again, this is a juxtaposition on the initial story. I couldn’t help but be critical, thinking that that was not how a character was meant to be or how the story goes.

I cannot leave a review without mentioning Gatsby himself: there are moments of the above to help inform the transition of the space and the story but Oliver Towse is the right brooding, distant but hopelessly in love character that Gatsby should be… and clearly his attractive nature, in his well known pink 3 piece, makes us all swoon. As if we are in the room of a Rockstar.

Immersive Gatsby is for sure a brilliant night out; filled with dancing, elation, champagne and a 1920’s Eastenders style vibe with conflict. But for those who know the story well, the need to utilise the space unfortunately sees changes to the novel which makes a stickler a little anxious.