FringeReview Scotland 2019
We are in the meadowdrome. In this place large inflatable balls are created and played with, song is experimented with and played with, dance is engaged with and played with and then we are invited to play with it all. The narrative stretches from how our two performers, one dyspraxic and the other with ADHD perform as parents and then as artists with the question of whatever happens artistically being OK and different from what actually happens – including standing on Lego bricks. It all culminates in the remembering of their first meeting with 5 Daniels, a Frauke, a kiss not taken nor given and red paint; it’s an eclectic mix of performance and experiences.
There is a tremendous naivete throughout this piece which belies its serious content. Both Requardt and Oliver are incredibly attractive presences onstage and their creating of this fantastic place, meadowdrome, grows naturally from their approach. They engage with people, giving them roles and asking their approval to engage in ways that is both disarming and adds to the performance in unique ways. There is humour in Frauke being represented by an Ian, and even more in the way in which Daniel recruits another five Daniels and then especially so in the shock of five volunteers getting their faces painted red as a Daniel. We have the pathos and questioning in comparison with their parental roles and not having their children come and see them in a performance with adult themes. But there is then humour again when Daniel agrees not to show the kiss he shared with her there in reality, in the art because we know now that’s not really on. This is how the weaving of the narrative is improved by the absurd.
The dance element of this with such diversity of performers is a varied exercise but one that at all times makes you want to stay and play. It’s like a celebration of diversity without having a lamp shoved in your place to say, we are because we are. The costume especially, and the theatre arts elements of the show work well though acoustically where we were was difficult at times and the sight lines with huge balloons onstage makes life tricky – but it also adds to the charm.
What I loved most, however, was the word play. The way in which Daniel is able to draw people into his stories is fantastic and I really enjoyed the development of the dif into the difficult as one example of how bright and revealing his narrative was.
But the charm and the effectiveness and the opening up of their lives would be for nothing were it not artistic and challenging on an artistic level. This is where it is, for me, a triumph. From the very beginning to the end, whilst I did not engage to help out there seemed to be an intuitive recognition by both performers as to who would add to their show and who would be stubbornly resistant. That intuition onstage is quite an acute skill that allows them to create in front of our eyes a performance that stays long in the memory because it ought to, it should do and it will do.