Programmer Picks: Brighton Festival Theatre, Circus and Dance
As we head inexorably towards the start of the 2018 Festival, Sally Cowling, Associate Producer of the Brighton Festival, shares a final few picks of performances that just shouldn’t be missed…
I absolutely guarantee that you won’t have experienced anything like this before. I was blown away by this (pretty literally: ‘blaas’ means ‘blow’ in Dutch) when I saw it in Amsterdam eighteen months ago. Made by Dutch choreographer Boukje Schweigman, it’s choreography but not as you know it-not least because you don’t see the dancer who is performing for you! Instead you meet unearthly creatures that might or might not be sentient, that might or might not be friendly, that might or might not be reflecting your mood back at you… I can’t tell you much about the experience of this show without spoiling it for you but suffice to say that it is beautiful, immersive, playful and all-enveloping, a complete 360-degree sensory experience that leaves you reeling, but in the best, most exhilarating and, dare-I-say-it, spiritual sense. It’s one of those ‘only-in-the-Festival delights, so do go and experience it-it has a limited capacity so grab a ticket while you can!
The Humours of Bandon
For those of you who saw the fantastic, heart-rending piece of theatre, ‘Silent’ by Pat Kinevane a few festivals ago, you will have already experienced the brilliance of Fishamble, Ireland’s foremost new writing company. The Humours of Bandon also comes from the Fishamble stable and is also a brilliant one-person show, but the similarities very firmly stop there. This is written and performed by Margaret McAuliffe, a past Irish dance champion as well as a great writer and this is her story of thoroughly unhealthy competition amidst the wonders of Irish dance. It is a gorgeous, life-affirming, and wryly hilarious look at teenage obsession, whilst also being a tour-de-force of a performance with Margaret performing a multitude of characters whilst treating us to some exceptionally splendid dancing. This will simply make you feel better to watch; frankly it should probably be on prescription for mild springtime blues, because it’s a veritable tonic of a show. Neither experimental nor hard-hitting, just absolutely joyous.
Creation (Letters to Dorian)
For those of you who’ve previously come across the British/German collective, Gob Squad, you have probably already bought your ticket to see this most innovative, funny and experimental of companies. For everybody else, I encourage you to connect with this endlessly inventive company who this time around are working with local Brighton artists.
Reluctantly, occasionally defeatedly, but mostly defiantly middle-aged, the Gob Squad are exploring beauty and youth and art; what constitutes beauty, is it simply youth? What constitutes art, and does it have to be truthful? Do we, the audience change it just by watching? Incorporating their own and their guest performers’ lived experiences-including the brutally enviable experiences of ridiculously gorgeous young people positively flaunting their peachy, unblemished perfection- and moving between performance and live-edited filming, Gob Squad endlessly play with our perceptions and self-awareness in this frank, thought-provoking and funny examination of quite how much of our souls we would sell for eternal youth or at least for the appearance of it….