Reframe The Streets

Show Detail & Review

Bring Me Sunshine

 

Stuff and Things

 

Out There Festival

 

Saturday 19th September 2015   |  3.50 pm  |     Around town, culminating in The Market Place, Great Yarmouth

This new work-in-progress from eastern region experimentalists Stuff & Things explores the power of music, dance and laughter. By placing the unusual within the everyday, they explore the possibilities of what can happen when audience and performer meet in a celebration of what it means to simply say YES!

 

8 volunteer dancers will take part in this performance.

 

Everyone is welcome to join, no dancing skills or experience required. Get involved and experience the power of dance, music and laughter!

 

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

Xavier Leret

This participatory dance piece encouraged the audience to join in the show as it moved across the town, ending up at a flash mob performance in the market place.

We followed two performers up Regents Road, one chap in a full body black lycra suit, face and all, music celebrating life playing from a small pouch on his hip and a woman in a black plastic rain mac, black wellies, rain hat, and suit case  from which escaped raucous laughter and classical music. The pair walked the boulevard dancing and high fiving passers-by, shaking their hands, having their photos taken by a small army of photographers. It was playful and friendly and apart from a mardy biker in a pub, everyone was willing to participate. Beyond this there wasn’t much more. It was simple and unpretentious but I couldn’t help but wonder whether there was more that the two could do, if there were more games they could play.

I loved their music boxes, which were nicely disguised and the sound was excellent. I particularly enjoyed the manic laughter that emanated from the woman’s suitcase as she led us towards the market place to join a motley ensemble of characters for an improvised flash dance. There was a cyclist in full cycling gear and dapper shoes, a suited man with a bright red helmet, a woman in dressing gown, a workman with a broom, amongst others twisting and turning to the music whilst picking members of the audience to join them. They took their partners through a series of ensemble tableaux including a can-can line dance, finishing in a central image, before it all dissolved away.

All in all there was not much to this piece. The walkabout element of the show was never challenging and never wanted to challenge. Beyond the costumes, which were uniformly excellent, and of course the fabulous speakers they each carried, there didn’t seem to have been much investigation about what the performance. The same too could be said of the flash mob which was a little shambolic. Perhaps it might have been nice for each performer to have taught their partner some simple moves rather than just wafting or spinning and the group images felt they had been rushed. With just a bit more thought this could have offered quite a lot more.

 

The Response

Nick Cassenbaum

Xavier says in his piece that the walkabout was never challenging. But I would say that the purpose was not to challenge but to connect. I followed the same two up Regent Road. Yes they were giving high fives and having photos taken. It was not overtly challenging. It may not have left the audience remarkably changed.

However it left most people who interacted with them grinning. Each person who they interacted with, or who saw them interacting on the street or who saw them dancing would have thought ‘what is that?’ They may have smiled, they may have laughed, they may have even thought ‘how stupid!’ But they all would have had some silliness in their day. They would have seen something out of the ordinary, which would have changed their day for the better and they may now think of Regents Road differently every time they walk down it. And that’s something to be commended.

There were people who did not want to interact and rejected a high five was offered. But this only made for a more enjoyable show for other spectators.

The flash mob was fun. The focus of it was to get spectators to join in and it succeeded. The dance moves were easy and the performers’ costumes were ridiculous enough that members of the public were happy to join in, as they wouldn’t be silliest thing in focus.

There were a lot of people refusing to join in and actively moving away. I don’t know if they were just being grumpy. Perhaps the performers had not worked quite hard enough to ‘get them’ at that moment. Or perhaps it was more important to concentrate on those who were drawn in. Many of the people watching in the square had not been on the previous walk. If they had, I think they may have joined in more readily.

I do agree with Xavier and think most of the elements could have been pushed further. However, if the purpose of this piece was to create a fun spectacle on the streets, it certainly succeeded.

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.

Comments:

  1. Nick Warburton says:

    I am: The Artist being reviewed
    As co deviser / director / choreographer and producer I thought it worth outlining the project in more detail, as much of the projects mission and value seems to have been missed.

    The performance on the 19th was the end result of a long research and development process to understand the complexities and problems of delivering such a performance – rather than the intended focus being the performance itself. None of the performers were professional street performers – they were a mixture of volunteer members of the public with no previous performance experience, musicians, poets, and some from performing arts backgrounds. The project was about being on a journey of discovery, challenging inhibitions, learning new skills, and delivering a community ‘trial’ performance as the finale of the process. On these wider terms the project was a great success, and all involved have had very positive journeys which was a very important part of the process. The project will hopefully now continue with further funding to take it to other communities and festivals, and be further developed and devised and polished, with a new set of performers.

    This is a film about the devising of the project – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcJFu-ovmo0

    This is a film of the performance(s) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7k_xRkrU3K8

    Quotes from the team :

    Simon Floyd (professional performer, writer, and community theatre leader) – ” I learned so much – especially about interacting with the public, using body shapes to signal friendliness, the power of good intention, the joy of working with new people. I broke new boundaries in my practice both as a performer and facilitator. It has given me a lot of confidence to develop as a street performer in my own right.”

    Russell Turner (poet & professional performer) – “I gained valuable new experience, particularly with regard to dance and interacting with the public”

    Toni Hassett (volunteer) – which aspects of the project didn’t you enjoy – “Errr…. none”

    Rosemary Grieve (semi professional performer) – “I loved the room for co-authorship/ co-creation / collaboration provided by an R&D project as opposed to a ‘finished article’. I felt lucky to be part of something where we were actively encouraged to explore, imagine, experiment – such a luxury. I learnt how to collaborate with other performers for the greater good of the project. The success of the project depended on mutual support, sense of humility, COOPERATION!”

    Laura McGill (Professional choreographer and performer) – ” I learned a lot about street performance and the dynamic of performer / audience on the street. This has directly influenced the work I am undertaking within my own practice.”

    Tom Butterworth (professional performer) – “I learned to overcome some of my own frustrations with myself in interacting with people on the street – just let whatever happens be as it is. Be in the moment. This practice is essential for just about every type of performance discipline but I think you get way more practice doing that with this kind of performance than probably any other area I’ve working in (stage, film, voice etc) which is awesome and cool.”

    Amanda Coleman (volunteer) – “It was really good for me as a performer. It gave me a sense of freedom and confidence”

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