Everything Is Nice

Beating the nice nice nice thing to death (with fluffy pillows)


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The last time I went to see Firsts it was because my wife was in one of the performances. This time my sole motivation was the fact it is a shockingly good deal: four pieces of contemporary performance for a fiver. Even a mixed bag is worth sampling at that price.

We were slightly spoilt to start with ‘A View From Down Here’ by Collectif And Then…, an aerial duet for double cloud. It was inspired by children’s letter and readings of these framed the piece on stage but really this was unnecessary because the brilliant child-like joy of the piece shone through from the very opening, before they’d even ascended the rope. I’m very tempted to see their next performance at Jackson’s Lane in the new year.

It was then a complete contrast to move back down to Earth for ‘imreadywhenuare’ by Simon Williams and Bad Taste Cru, a resolutely masculine and serious work. It comes with a lot of bumf about addressing peer pressure and urban conformity but it doesn’t really getting into this. There are a couple of things here. Firstly, I’ve looked up a snippet of the piece on YouTube which is very different and features four dancer. So it may well be that this version has been substantially buggered about with. It certainly looks pretty rough. Secondly, the audience must carry some of the blame. As soon as the dancers started breaking they started whooping – “Wow! Breaking! Amazing!” – and when (obviously) this turned out to only be part of the piece this left the dancers slightly stranded and the performance lopsided.

Also lopsided but much more successfully was ‘The Making Of Doubt’ by Stammer Productions. It opens with a long, slow waltz between two ripped open cardboard boxes which I thought was sweet but I could tell split the audience. The boxes then revealed four dancers, each with an additional prosthetic limb, struggling to control their new bodies as they emerged into the world. I thought this was amazing but I did hear a few grumbles in the interval.

There was pretty much nothing but grumbling for ‘The Second Death Of Caspar Helendale’, a collaboration between Jessica Curry and Dan Pinchbeck, which was just fucking shit. I will cut Curry some slack because at least she wrote the music but the concept of a requiem in and for Second Life is appalling. It was originally commissioned by 2ND LIVE: “exploring live performances in the Second Life (r) world.” Christ.

Written by Martin

28 November 2009 at 11:13

One Response

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  1. […] & Bailey. This is a recurring problem in physical performance, exactly the same occured with ‘imreadywhenuare’; the audience is only able to treat the performance as a series of tricks. Tricks is really too […]

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