Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Turn Festival

 3-5 May 2012. Contact Theatre, Manchester

Turn Festival has been hosted by Contact this year, as a Green Room Legacy project.  With a selection of  unknown talent from around the region, Turn has something for everyone, including the chance to perform your first Wedding dance, watch a wrestling match in an office, and witness a young girl give in to her most impulsive thoughts. (Most unforgettably emptying a bowl of noodles all over herself).  Unfortunately I couldn’t attend all three nights, but here are a few of my highlights…

Emma Lansley and Eve Stainton created the perfect opening to Friday’s evening’s performances.  Better Because I wear Vintage offered a light and humorous approach to the current trend of wearing dated clothing and acting kitsch.  A Conversation: Part 1 offered an intelligent response to psychological topics such as sanity and obedience.  Mainly using text to open the duet, the piece then developed into some interesting, fluid movement.  I hope this is a work in progress by Hannah Buckley and Dwayne Antony, as it left me wanting to see more.  Moving on to my absolute favourite – Work Songs by the dangerologists.  On paper, this piece explores ‘masculinity in the office [and the] mindless drudgery and hopeless alienation that is the normal working day.’  In physicality, it is so much more – the two male dancers produce a comical, physically brutal performance, which escalates into a violent conflict.  The performers have amazing acting ability, and deliver truly convincible characters, which most of the audience could probably relate to.  This piece will no doubt inspire many people to leave their monotonous office jobs and start living.

Hofesh Shecter

Hofesh Shecter – Political Mother. 27/4/12 The Lowry, Salford.

The programme states ‘Shecter’s first full length work burst onto the world stage in 2010 and since then has been an unstoppable force, touring the world to great acclaim.’  This is due to the mesmerising ensemble pieces, consisting of raw, committed movement and powerful images.  Exploring themes of power, oppression and conformity – which are a common trend recently – the dancers take the audience on a painful journey to subjection and back again, in which the choreographer allows the dancers’ individuality come to light.

The element that sets Politcal Mother aside from many other contemporary dance pieces is the choice of a live band and the bold style of music.  The musicians are such a part of the staging, and make up almost half of the performers, that Shecter has made a whole performance genre of his own.  The daring, deafening music dramatically increased the atmosphere throughout the piece, and continually created the tension.  It is fair to say that without the rock music/ gig element, the dancing would be rather underwhelming.  Having said that, Political Mother is still an undeniable masterpiece, and I doubt the ‘unstoppable force’ of the piece worldwide is about to slow down.