Brighton Fringe 2012
An interesting combination of clowning with contemporary dance, which invites the audience to observe a master class of a revolutionary new dance form.
The piece takes on the premise of a disgruntled contemporary dancer who has created his own movement form after seeing the bored and unengaged faces of his audience. Naive Dance Masterclass is a class that teaches the audience about the history and creation of this new form of dance.
The show begins as a well observed commentary of the cliches within contemporary dance. The physical action of the male lead is strong and funny harking to some wonderfully reproduced forms that are really familiar within dance, such as the poignant entrance of a basic household object, in this case the reverent entrance of a broomstick, followed by some deep breathing and serious expressions of intent, before leaping off stage to re-enter with a bucket and a similar fascination.
The piece continues taking on many of these familiar forms and ripping them apart, from the poignant beginning to a difficult technical move, to the obligatory dances where the dancer removes more and more clothes until he is dancing naked wearing nothing but an indian headers!
The problem with this piece lies in the fact that it doesn’t appear to know where to go with these ideas after presenting them in this way. After a very funny first half, the piece descends into a scene that tries to bring a story out of the initial material. This story involves the return of the male performer’s first love. This actually turns out to be an unfortunate turn for the show, as this story is told using quite a cliched clowning form that felt unoriginal within the premise it had already set up.
The physical technique of both performers was extremely impressive, however, certain scenes felt like they had been dragged out for too long and fell into becoming a cliche of a different theatrical form, which is exactly what the piece was ridiculing in the first place.
It is a shame as there was some really strong work in this piece, however as it progressed it felt that there was a need to put too much into the work, with puppets, clowning, hoolahoops and an attempt at adding a narrative to something that started as a simple and cleaver premise.
It felt to me that the company could have continued with the original premise of the piece and seen where they could have taken that without the need to force so many other ideas into it that it became quite confused.
This is an interesting piece of theatre/comedy which is very well performed, however it would benefit from having some more confidence in the premise that it originally set up.