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FringeReview Scotland 2024

Futuristic Folktales

Charlotte Mclean and collaborators

Genre: Dance and Movement Theatre, Movement

Venue: Tramway Theatre


Low Down

Performers Astro Sheidegger and Orrow Bell stride with purpose onto a stage which has no backdrop but is an empty white sheet of promise. Writhing between them we see the emergence of Bell from between the legs of Sheidegger. Then Bell dances a fling before a return from whence they came – to the womb. An interruption for dialogue follows after which there is a tightly focused series of solos and duets which brings the physical emergence and reemergence of the 8 billion people on the planet who may well be our second, or even last chance of redemption. By the end we have an exhausted exploration and two very exhausted performers.


The connections between each performer are both tentative and bold. Their interactions perfectly introduce us clearly to the very first womb. This womb, clearly in the past, is now birthing future folklore as it brings the people who shall shape the story. As such and as a physical metaphor it works really well. As Scheidegger and Bell return to each other, working in combination, this is when it is incredibly strong, and each set piece gives so much of themselves that you feel that connection way back in the auditorium. It has a choreography of connection which truly shines through. Charlotte Mclean as choreographer credits many collaborators who influenced the piece but there is clear and steady hand at work in the direction.

The use of theatre arts – sparse stage, lighting which is both dramatic and subtle again matches the thrust of the piece, allying theatre arts with the humour of it which often emerges from the technical mastery on display. Both Scheidegger and Bell have an acute sense of the rhythm of that connection with their audience. Their storytelling engages and take us with them.

The soundscape, when used enhances this and though there are moments of movement without music – including when Scheidegger hums – this allows for a heightened sense of the message – simply and coherently expressed.  The theatricality adds to a performance which is conscious of itself to make itself both heard aurally and physically.

There is complexity and layers throughout as both Scheidegger and Bell use a variety of dance forms – love the use of highland dancing in an original way without pastiche, as well as the acrobatic breaking Scheidegger uses so well and the contemporary flavour throughout. Bell acts as both audience foil and the empathic partner in it all.

Due to transfer to the Assembly for the Fringe, and having been developed since 2022, to great success, this shows little of the cobwebs that may have to have been blown off in rehearsal. It speaks to the crucial role that the womb plays as it gives us life, often we feel we want to retreat back to it in times of severe personal crisis, but also suggests challenges that we need to embrace to find collective solutions for – 8 billion of us and ta least 1 of us should have an idea… shouldn’t we? That is the dance for hope.