Browse reviews

FringeReview Scotland 2023

A Wee Journey

Presented by Farah Saleh and Oğuz Kaplangi, in collaboration with the performers.

Genre: Dance, Dance and Movement Theatre, Music, World Music

Venue: Platform Easterhouse, Glasgow


Low Down

As we entered the theatre a lone guitarist played. His isolation was not to last forever, poignant though it felt, as first one dancer entered the lonely stage, and then another followed by more to create movement that built on gesture, isolation and collective experiences. It drew us into a world in which there was no escaping from a simple fact – there is more between us which is similar than different. Here we had physical embodiment of that, making us all part of the whole joy of coming together.


This was a short exploration into a huge topic which began with a solo piece, building on simple little movement towards a collective experience. It emerged with style and panache as all five dance performers built as a collective. When they were joined by that solo guitarist to engage in a dance section, this told its own story without any narrative.

I adored how it started with the simplicity of one body and then drew the others in towards it. The group dynamics were powerfully choreographed by Farah Saleh with the music something of a revelation. There were tinges of what I might describe as world music which were simply both apt and uplifting. Having the music, composed by Oğuz Kaplangi partly live and partly recorded was fine though the emergence of a guitarist performing with his guitar whilst engaging in a dance seemed a little haphazard. When he was dancing the Turkish dance he remembered from childhood, that worked so much better and I felt part of that memory, coming towards me in the audience. You could compassionately recognise this as a memory which may linger but now, as an experience we shared, it was asking me to see how it should and ought to include me within it; we became present and not part of the past.

But my favourite piece was when one of the dancers spoke to us in his native tongue. As we did not understand him, he showed us what he meant in dance. We still may not have got it so he repeated it. Then he asked again if he knew what he meant but then he interpreted with the whole troupe and THAT was when I understood how important the welcome, the support, the collective whole of a disparate group of people make a difference when faced with having to blend in but also retain your identity. It was a powerful meaning.

The dancers, diverse and divergent, Daniel Navarro Lorenzo, Francesca Till, Kemono L.Riot, Nada Shawa and Pirita Tuska were all equally up to the tasks and their performance showed a subtlety and grasp of their story. There were different levels of ability on show and for me that strengthened and did not diminish the message.

Their costume was shades of blue which worked well as the lighting complimented to great effect. The lighting design managed to compliment what we were witnessing, meaning that the visions of lighting designer, Emma Jones and Costume and Set Designer, Zephyr Liddell made an effective contribution: and so they should when shown as a collective.

Overall, this felt like a complete celebration of diversity, of why it is important that we welcome and encourage the diversity we have as a strength within us all. It spoke to that without any artifice, just genuine emotion and connection. I left uplifted and that is what all dance should do, leave me with empathy for what I have seen.

Now, I am not fooled into thinking that as a Scot, this shows we are the nation we wish to be, as yet. It shows me that if we truly open our arms, and show compassion, this could be the emotionally charged result of real diversity and respect.