Monday, 4 July 2011

ARENA: RSAMD CPP2 Students 24th June 2011

ARENA: an explicit expose of process, generated by the body and from the practice and study of movement.

As with each piece from the contemporary performance practice students of the RSAMD, I had no idea what was in store as I entered the Chandler Studio Theatre. Arranged in the centre of the floor, the performers explored the space around them, keeping in contact with the floor and transferring weight slowly between themselves.

A fun-filled, exciting performance piece followed, including exciting extracts of dance, physical theatre, art, parkour and acrobalance. I was inspired by CPP2's use of contact and improvisation and enjoyed seeing the progress of these amazing young artists from their performance the previous year. Particularly, duets between Aby Watson and Kim Donohoe, Emma Nutland and Amy McLahlan Sayer stand out for me, their strength and beauty stealing my attention from everything else that was happening in the space. I must commend Ellie Dubois and David Banks on their work with contact and parkour. The control in their movements had me holding my breath, I was completely captivated.

CPP students are more than the much talked-about 'triple threat'...they use voice, dance, physical theatre, parkour, yoga, contact, acting, improvisation, art and more to create innovative relevant performances that everyone could relate to on some level. They capture the essence of every individual, personality and natural charisma oozes from every performer.

Congratulations on a fantastic end of year show CPP2. Your performances are real, engaging and inspiring.

Dollar Will Rock You, Macrobert Arts Centre, 23rd June 2011

Aptly performed at Macrobert, where Queen themselves played in the 1970s, Dollar Will Rock You (presented by permission of schools will rock you) was a fantastic tribute to an iconic band and brilliant Ben Elton musical.

I will admit that I am bias due to the extremely talented Fraser Jackson putting together the band, however, having a band made up of school pupils, I was expecting much less than the polished Queen classics I had heard twice from the professional tour. Bias aside, the music was ELECTRIC! I beamed with pride from the audience, Brian May would have been over the moon with the quality of sound from the Dollar Academy pit (he did, in fact, send them good luck wishes before their run).

As with many school and am-dram productions, the choreography did lack the accuracy and impact needed to deliver the themes of this musical, however, the show was led by outstanding singers and enthusiastic chorus work.

Both lead female dancers were sharp with great timing and energy, adding in characterisation and expression in their movements. Such talent is usually only seen in musical theatre students and I wish every success to the dancer going onto pursue musical theatre as a career. A well-deserved place as a performing arts student awaits her come September.

Highlights for me included the mind-blowing visual effects, on a par with the professional show these were technically and artistically perfect. I felt that I would be very critical of technicalities such as the graphics and communication videos but they stood up to my high expectations, an outstanding piece of work by Sally Herbert. The pupils playing Killer Queen and Scaramouche stood out from the rest with their characterisation and vocal abilities. Both girls were a treat to watch, Killer Queen out-doing the role I saw on tour this January.

Congratulations to the pupils of Dollar Academy, you exceeded my expectations and put on a fabulously energetic, polished and technically exhilirating production.

Richard Alston Theatre Royal 26th May 2011

This was the second time I had seen the Richard Alston Dance Company on stage at the Theatre Royal in Glasgow and this time I took my mum with me.

As expected, the music really made the dance, starting with 4 movements from Prokofiev's 6th Piano Sonata. 'Out of the Strong' featured most of the company and lead me through different emotions, from anger to apathy, joy and excitement. Each movement was different and the dancers' movements expressed every feeling with a fabulous synchronicity during the company piece.

'Lie of the Land' 's movement to Rorem's 4th String Quartet was a lovely contrast to the first piece, sweet and sassy with lots of surprise encounters between dancers, keeping me on my toes and not knowing who to watch next.

Finally 'Roughcut' ended this diverse show, a lovely selection for the final piece by the Theatre Royal. With a wealth of dancers, increased stage size and subtle lighting, I felt like I was a fly on the wall of a theatre, getting a sneak-peek of a private movement conversation or rehearsal. The exuberance of the dancers portrayed the 'young performers' roles perfectly, as Alston describes in the programme as youthful and articulate raw talent.

Richard Alston filled the theatre with promise and hope for the future, giving off an ideally accessible form of contemporary dance that I'm sure everyone could relate to.