Edinburgh Festival Fringe dance review: Vertical Influences, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Kelly Apter.
If you’ve ever watched Dancing on Ice on TV, or sat through a Disney on Ice show – then it’s time to forget everything you’ve learned. The work produced by Canadian company Le Patin Libre could not be further from the glitz and glitter of your average ice dance show.
This is pure movement, intelligent artistry, aesthetic beauty and incredible skill all rolled into one – and it’s breathtaking. Making its Fringe debut in 2014, with a handful of bite-size routines, Le Patin Libre have made a very welcome return with a longer double bill.
Dressed in everyday clothing, the five performers glide across the ice as one unit. Like a shoal of fish or flock of birds, the distance between them never alters as they pick up speed.
During the first half, we observe all of this from the side of the rink, watching the subtle narrative of Influences play out. After the break, it’s time for Vertical – and for us to move seats. No longer viewing from the sidelines, we’re now almost part of the action.
A carpeted section of the ice is covered with cushions, chairs and stools of differing heights to ensure everyone has a great view (imagine that at a Fringe venue). Then on they come, hurtling down the ice towards us, skating faster and faster, closer and closer until . . . we’re plunged into darkness and they disappear.
The on-ice action would look good regardless of the circumstances, but Le Patin Libre are too theatrically aware to short-change us. Instead, they’ve created their own soundtrack, and enlisted the help of acclaimed lighting designer Lucy Carter (known for her work with choreographer Wayne McGregor) to elevate their show to an even higher level.
It costs a small fortune to hire Murrayfield Ice Rink, limiting the dates the company can perform there, so pull on a warm jacket and catch them while you can.
Assembly at Murrayfield Ice Rink (Venue 454) until 29 August / listings
Published in The Scotsman on 20 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