Edinburgh Festival Fringe dance review: Plan B For Utopia, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Kelly Apter.
When a dancer steps up to a microphone, you can never really be sure what’s going to come out. Words, yes, but will they be meaningful, potent, worthwhile and well-delivered? Or should they just let their bodies do the talking, and leave words to the playwrights and actors?
If that sounds harsh, it’s only because I’ve sat through a lot of dance theatre where narrative detracts, rather than adds, to the hugely powerful language of dance, which is why this new work from choreographer Joan Clevillé is so incredibly exciting. Because he gets it all very, very right. Every word, every wonderful facial expression, every bodily movement that performer Solène Weinachter makes is a gift to the audience.
“Why is it easier to imagine the end of the world, than a world that is changed for the better?” she asks at the start. “Good question,” replies co-performer John Kendall, also a strong physical presence.
From that starting point, they travel through a series of short vignettes, exploring hopes, dreams, sadness, frivolity and love. Each visit to the microphone is accompanied by words of truth that are either politically and socially spot-on, funny or moving. They speak, and dance, about the wider world – but also about their own, very personal world, in ways that are both subtle and inclusive.
Allegories about finding happiness in what we have; holding on to our dreams – but then adapting when they don’t come true; recognising that success arrives in many forms – it’s all here, shaped and delivered in an intelligent, thought-provoking way.
Both Clevillé and Weinachter are former members of Scottish Dance Theatre, and brought a large amount of humour and feeling to their time there. So it’s not a great surprise that the debut work from new company Joan Clevillé Dance is so strong, just a very welcome one.
Dance Base (Venue 22) until 30 August / listings
Published in The Scotsman on 26 August 2015
Edinburgh Festivals 2015: complete coverage
• Get everything on our Festivals homepage – on desktop, mobile or tablet
• Looking for reviews? Check out the latest Scotsman reviews – or browse all the reviews ranked by star rating
• Don’t miss a thing: sign up to our daily email newsletter
• Watch all the latest videos from the #WOWwagon
• Get distracted by our Festival Blog
• Check out today’s half-price ticket deals
• Follow our social accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – and join the conversation with #WOWfest
• Download the WOW247 app for iOS and Android