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FringeReview Scotland 2024


Megahertz, FERAL and Cumbernauld Theatre

Genre: Community Theatre, Dance, Dance and Movement Theatre

Venue: Kildrum, Cumbernauld


Low Down

A dance piece delivered on the streets of a housing estate with five local dancers. It begins in a communal area outside a shop, and we are introduced one by one to the five local artists – ranging from an 11 year old hip hopper, to a Spanish dancer with plenty of Latin moves, a local 18 year old who comes for the local Academy and has choreographed her own piece, a dance artists studying at the local college and someone who owns and runs her own local dance academy. They tour round the estate with the loud music accompanying them, lights following them and projections thrown onto the sides of buildings which are them doing their thing, but in glorious technicolour, whilst the live version struts it stuff round the wee housing estate.


They came in their jammies, held weans with dummies at their windaes, hung over balconies following this event with plenty of gasps and applause. It was a triumph of getting engagement that on a bitter February evening was a marvel in itself. It included one kid, making up his own dance moves, lots of kids telling their parents which dancer was their favourite – and why – and demands from all to have their parents phone top record, not their next Tik Tok with them in it, but a community event, to someone closer to my own age, making their steps fit with the beat which eventually warmed them up from their feet to their heid! All of them audience members who became a crowd, watching dance, original dance, in a freezing night, in the dark, in Scotland, on a housing estate.
But first, the theatrics. All five dance pieces were repeated and some diversity in approach would help, but there would need, I am sure to be a longer time working on these, Coordination in the work of the backing dancers could have been much more focused and in synch more often with the dancer up front, and whilst the MC did her best, there was less of an engagement with the crowd than could have been imagined.
But these are indulgences.
The dancing was very good with crisp dance and effective engagement with their audience to hold people’s attention throughout this walk round. There was nothing overly sophisticated because as we walked and were corralled by the street stage managers, it was the audience who enhanced the whole event. As I walked round, looked up, saw people holding phones to capture memories, listening to the explanations of each dancer and their background you could not fail to be struck with what you were witnessing.
A working class area, turning off their TVs and tumbling out their flats and houses to see some dance. And some dance that was being performed by a group of their own. When it was freezing. As a community art piece, it was inspired and ultimately quite inspirational.
The projections were a particular highlight for me as they lit up the estate and people were scrambling to get their recordings which would be viewed time and again, I am sure after the event has long gone. It was mad, but in a good way. Highlights for a man of my age was always going to be Bits and Pieces, but there were too many really good moments to indulgently pick out one or two – the collective won through. This has event like people who love impact like me eager for more. And if they strut your way, get off the sofa… but maybe wrap up warm…