Brighton Fringe 2015
"May-we-go-round?’ is a collision of fiercely energetic dance and comedic theatre taking audiences on the bittersweet ride of romance"
This is a very original production, in the way that new originality can be born when we mix a track together from other music tracks. This is exactly what the best DJ’s do, and here we have a two-hander comedy-dance-movement piece that explores many themes by mining the images, sounds and feelings of our time. Originality then becomes an emergent property of combining the jigsaw pieces from many other pictures, sounds, reactions, stories,cliches and dance moves. This is a mashup of the best kind.
This is outstanding work, not because it is perfect but because it is not perfect. You can feel the spirit of experimentation, of tinkering and playful experimentation that goes on between shows and a little in the improvised banter during the show itself.
You’ll watch it three times and notice different things yet never lose the clever, touching, funny and metaphorical content – the through-line – expressed in dance, clown, mime, comedy, monologue, dialogue and physical theatre. It overflows yet never engulfs us. It is a spectacle and yet its complexity carries an often simple narrative – boy meets girl, boy leaves, girl feels pain then empowers herself. Love, lust, loss, longing, colours of the world, spicing up our lives, with an underpinning belief that friendship is the home harbour and the support structure of our dangerous adventures.
This is outstanding dance using existing forms and genres as Lego bricks and then building with those bricks as if they were moulding clay. It doesn’t all join up seamlessly yet an integrated whole is achieved. The hour feels satisfying, exhilarating, emotionally a wild ride laced with (and I rarely use this word) awesome silence. We all fall down and we pick ourselves up; we drag and are dragged; we spin and swirl, and round we go to come back for more.
Two young performers, clever and even a bit wise beyond their years, they’ve embedded bodily movement with sharp and often hilarious wit. This wit is expressed bodily and vocally, coarsley and tenderly.
Five seconds in this show can contain ten micro-events, vignettes of comedy, the tears of the clown, and the dance of Pan, Aphrodite, Venus and even Gaia. All the gods goddesses are juggled here – lust, romance, the thrill of the chase, love as the real thing and even love of our humanity, often expressed in enduring, accepting friendship.
I’m not sure these two are entirely sure of what they have created, but they accept and embrace that creation anyway and that lifts the art on occasions above the egos of the performers. Then we get synergy and the comedy claps upon their yearning and hunger like thunder. We get bathos and hoot with laughter. I found it so refreshing to see such an original blending of genres and styles. Only occasionally did that mixing create unhelpful unclarity; mostly we were carried willingly along with the rhythm, the motifs and sight gags, the eye theatre and the comedy set pieces, many as tight as an arts funding organisation.
At the core is dance – two very able dancers, recent and fresh from training, oozing motivation from every pore and able to command costume changes concurrently with dialogue and emotional reacting, show-women and painfully human at the same time. Dance weaves into comedy and comedy carries the pain of the human condition – we seek love and stumble into loss, we seek pleasure and rebound into disappointment.
On we go, the merry go round never stops, and round we go again. Clever repetition was built into the core of May-We-Go-Round and this anchored the madcap flow of the piece. Good dramaturgy and strong direction has ensured this piece has a helpful structure that serves as a confident launch pad for all kinds of unhinging and craziness. It’s a show loaded with permission. The two female performers have given themselves permission to flee from a safe narrative, to hurl themselves all over the place, to parody dance and to use it fully, to laugh at straightlaced theatre and to risk offence in the way Rik Mayall and Ade Edmonson first did in the 80s.
The show stands out as one of the most genre-splatting, refreshing, silly, lovely, heartbreaking, trivial, profound, inventive, upbeat, enjoyable productions at this year’s fringe, not because it has offered anything fundamentally new but because it has not offered that in a very different and wonderfully fresh way. It’s taken all the cliches and hummable melodies of love and romance and spun them into physical theatre cabaret, sketch comedy that had audience members on their feet during a well deserved ovation. Theatre and dance that hurls custard pies at convention. Outstanding.