Reframe The Streets

Show Detail & Review



Marc Brew


Out There Festival


Sunday 20th September 2015   |  12 pm  |     Amazonia, Great Yarmouth

Three people find themselves abandoned on a deserted island. As they explore they gradually start to discover pieces of a vehicle buried in the sand, that can take them off the island. They work together to build the craft, only to discover that it won’t carry all of them.


(i)land is an outdoor dance piece, with specially composed music, exploring themes of identity, isolation and independence.


Have your say below
Reframe The Streets invite you to join the discussion about this show by reading the review and response below and then heading down to the comments section and adding your own thoughts to the conversation…

The writers’ reviews and responses are written immediately after the shows and with a tight deadline. As such they may be raw, even though we will do our best to check for mistakes.

The Review

Nick Cassenbaum

(I)land starts with a mound of sand. It is a remote desert island. Throughout the show we meet the three people stranded on it. We see their time on the island being played out through dance. They gradually find the parts of a vehicle, which will help them escape, however only two of them can get on it, leaving one…alone.

The dancing in this show was compelling to watch and at moments hypnotic. You could see the movements of the sea reflected in the movement. Watching it felt like the sea breeze blowing through my once glorious hair.

However while beguiled by the fluid movement, I found it hard to completely access the story. I was left wondering how the characters ended up on the island, how long they were there and how they felt about it. At one point it seemed like they were enjoying being on the Island, so why escape? I needed these questions dealt with before I could buy into the show.

I was slightly confused when the third person arrived, some way into the piece. The first was on the desert island right from the top, the second appeared from within the sand, which was a nice surprise, whereas she arrived from the sea. At one point I thought she might represent the sea itself, as she battled with the other men, taking their objects and throwing sand. But then she joined in helping build the machine.

Once they had put this vehicle together, two were chosen to escape on it and they left. There was no drama leading up to this action. It would have been great to see a change in dynamic as they fought as decide who would be the lucky ones to escape.

Overall my main issue with this piece is the story. Stories of people stranded on desert islands are familiar. This is really useful for outdoor work, as the audience will immediately be able to relate to the context and will not have to work hard at suspending disbelief. However I feel that the company could have found much more with this world. There was a lack of conflict, which ultimately shifted the idea from three people stranded to three people playing in the sand. If there was a choice for the characters to enjoy being on the island, why not push that and have characters really having fun?

I also found it difficult to stay with them their island world. When I saw the dancers walking on the sea (blue tarpaulin) it removed me from the world they were trying to create. The actual machine they created to escape was great – I enjoyed seeing it’s gradual construction and the performance trying desperately to save the pieces from being destroyed or taken. It was a nice make.

To sum up, the piece has some exquisite dance, the music was pleasant and the design was neat. However I think that the story could do with a bit of a redraft to add some more drama into the piece.

The Response

Xavier Leret

Like Nick I was a little lost with the story on this one. I would have liked to have known why the three characters were on the island. At the top of show there was one solitary performer sitting on top of the ship’s mast, who found some objects, investigated and moved with them. A character appeared from under the sand, which was a lovely touch – we had no idea he was there. As Nick says they both seem quite happy with each other, there was no ‘Lost’-like tensions or disputes of territory that one might normally associate with being lost on a tiny island in a vast ocean. It was all very easy and everyday.

I didn’t really understand why the woman in blue arrived from the sea. I guess she might have been the sea itself, or the wind. Certainly she wafted and she too was very easily absorbed into the existing group dynamics. Perhaps I was too affected by Lord Of The Flies as boy to ever believe that being deserted on an island could be so conflict-free.

As Nick pointed out, once they had built the machine there were no arguments over who was going to fly away. Or maybe these other two characters were simply figments of the first stranded sailor’s imagination – who knows. The choreography didn’t help to clarify the reality of the setting or any of the relationships. All in all this one left me feeling a tad empty.

Do you agree? What do you think?

Have your say!

When adding your comments, please feel free to challenge the writers whilst considering what you liked about the shows and what you would like to see more of.


  1. Marc Brew says:

    I am: The Artist being reviewed
    Thank you for your comments and review.

    The three performers worked closely to build their characters and did research an reference such iconic stories as Lord of the Flies, Lost, treasure island, shipwrecked and cast away. Though naturally we developed our own narrative of who we are and where we came from and how we ended up on the island. How the dynamic worked between the three characters and how the relationship developed during the performance. We did explore themes of isolation, identity, independence and land ownership.

    As there is not an opportunity to give programs during outdoor work that may give a synopsis of the story we do rely upon the iconic feature of the design of the set and sand and the 3 characters to tell their journey which the audience would follow and make their own choices of narration. We all read work differently but believe that audience picks up on the themes of the work and make their own narration if they feel they need a story.

    Some thoughts below from audience may help give further insight into the work:

    – 1st male character was shipwrecked picking up debris he discovers around the island and claiming his territory where he hides all the treasures and marks out his territory with drawing lines in the sand and using bamboo sticks as a fence.
    – 2nd male character who came from the sand was dressed in airforce pilot jumpsuit and audience often question whether the two men are in fact the same character which I like. This male character who can not walk uses the sand and the old mask of the ship to move around. When all three characters climb to the top of the mask he notices the 1st male charaters territory and all the treasures (washed up parts from possible crash landings) that have been hidden under the sand. There is a fight for land and ownership when the pilot and the female character try to uncover all the objects the 1st shipwrecked male has hidden in his territory but he profusely tries to keep the out and away. Once the objects are revealed the pilot who uses his skills to design a machine using all the parts to get off the island but it only fits one.
    – Female character comes from the sea, is she real or a mythical character? thats for the audience to decide but she does make it onto land and become the missing piece to show the men how to get along, feel again and how to build the machine and of course offering the final piece that is needed – the sail.
    The two men keep offering a hand full of sand to the female character for her to decide who should go and who should stay. Finally after the machine is built she takes the pilots sand and places it on the machine and he knows he is chosen. The female character guides the the man and the machine off the island to the sea (the blue tarpaulin) and beyond and then she separates and goes back to the sea as the pilot sails on.
    The 1st male is left on the island where he actually wanted to stay as didn’t want to in his heart return to people and the mainland. So he retreats to under the sand where the pilot began.
    The use of sand was used to communicate and decide who was to go and who was to stay

    I hope this gives you more insight into the work while it has clear themes it is open to interpretation of the narrative/story. It’s not a play but a contemporary dance work.

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