Brighton Fringe 2014
There is a simple conceit here – what does it feel like to hold hands in public? However, while the action is simple, it opens up a complex dialogue when you are holding hands with a stranger. How do it feel to hold hands with someone of the same gender, of a particular age or from a different cultural background? If you like talking to strangers, this is a wonderful and touching device that cuts through the chaff and gets to the nub of how we relate to each other.
This is an intimate walking performance for one audience member. You are met by a sequence of people, led by the hand through the town and invited to engage in conversation. The discussion starts with how it feels to hold hands on this particular day. Are you someone who likes to hold hands with loved ones? Is it a gesture that is reserved for lovers or children? How does your experience change as you hold hands with different individuals? And how does the way you hold hands affect the encounter? The investigation is literally in your hands as you are free to shape the conversation as you wish.
Brighton is an interesting backdrop for the performance, taking in the sexually liberated nuance of St. James Street, the commercial nature of the South Laines and the fun of the beach, which of course does a lot to inform the exchange. As the creator Rosana Cade suggests, it’s perhaps easier to walk with her into Prowler in Brighton – a sex shop that doesn’t attempt to hide in the shadows – as opposed to a similar establishment in Glasgow, where the artist herself is based and where sexual expression is more restrained. But there are different edges to be found here – Brighton certainly lives off its fashionable image, creating certain pressures about how we ‘should’ present ourselves in public.
The performers themselves are clearly engaged in the concept of the show – at least one had first encountered it as an audience member and was keen to get further involved. As such, they are sensitive in their approach and genuinely interested in the discussion, so that you feel well looked after.
One of the highlights is a moment where you are left alone for a moment to reflect on the experience so far, providing an opportunity to take in the world around you, to observe people walking together and how they relate physically to each other. I would have appreciated this lasting a fraction longer – to allow the experience to sink in further and to be able to indulge in the delightful sense of anticipation…who will I encounter next?
Being someone who delights in talking to strangers with no strings attached, this was completely up my street (no pun intended). If you are someone who shies away from physical contact, then this performance could be challenging. However, if you can possibly steal yourself, I would recommend it as an opportunity for a wonderful social experiment.
Walking:Holding is a humane performance experience which gives you the space to consider our basic needs – how we relate or would wish to relate to others. It’s heartfelt and heartwarming and I would highly recommend it.