Trip The Light

Fri 5th – Sat 13th August 2016

reviews

Emily Cole

at 09:38 on 9th Aug 2016

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All the way from Switzerland comes a beautifully mesmerising dance piece that is both hypnotic and inventive. The group manage to successfully execute the precise and emotive performance expected from a contemporary dance production, whilst providing a refreshing and innovative take on this genre.

After a strong first half, and an intermission filled with delectable Swiss chocolate, the foursome involved the audience in a clever twist on their genre, requesting members to select the music and movie title for them to improvise in the second half. Having chosen the BFG and ‘My Funny Valentine’, the audience watch with intrigue as the interesting and comical performance ensues.

Comprising of two emotional themes, the first of the two choreographed performances is so precisely synchronized that even someone, such as myself, who has yet to understand the world of contemporary dance, can admire its beauty. The music choices are, unsurprisingly, also perfectly suited to each performance, refusing to take away from what was unfolding on stage, but rather laying a solid foundation to support the performers.

The highlight of the production is found in the small detail of the dancer’s facial expressions; perhaps a minor detail to most, but the slight smirking corner smile and gazing eyes between Sophie Ammann and Rosanne Briens project an electric joy that contagiously spreads throughout the audience. This swiftly changes to the sinister presence of Erin O’Reilly, who refrains from showing her face for the first fifteen minutes of the performance, only to reveal a glistening and stirring pair of eyes. Their expression cuts through the audience so hauntingly. The motions of her limbs are impressive and disturbing, managing to convey fear, naivety, horror and innocence in one overwhelmingly powerful piece.

The second half is much more relaxed, and the true nature of these women comes through as a charming and loveable group of girls. Their attempts at understanding the plot of the BFG were nothing short of comical. Some of the interpretations are a little wobbly and confusing, but these faults are attributed more to the problems of translation rather than a lack of capability.

The contributions from the audience become a little awkward, mainly due to wanting to ensure we provide them with adequate suggestions. But, overall, this is a charming and well thought-out piece by four young girls who deserve every success coming their way.

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Caragh Aylett

at 01:01 on 10th Aug 2016

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'Trip the Light' is a piece by the Swiss 'Junebug Company'. The piece explores ideas of friendship, love and identity through dance and physical theatre.

The performance consists of three sections; a duet, a solo and an improvised piece. It begins with a female duet that touches upon themes of friendship and love. The duet dance beautifully when in synchronisation which reflects both their ability as dancers and the intensity of their rehearsals. Equally, when they move in different ways to each other the contract between the two characters in the piece is clear and stunning. Of particular note is a section where one of the performers engages in a routine mimicking ballet while the other presents jagged movements, the contrast here is astounding. However, in sections where the two are dancing close beside one another the chemistry between them is often awkward and while the movements are consistently impressive, I felt that their awkward interaction left something missing from the performance.

A solo performance follows the duet. This explores themes of identity and the idea of being a different person alone than when in public. It is depicted through small, jagged movements represents the outward side of her character contracted with big, fluid movements to demonstrate her internal thoughts. While stillness and subtle movements are of benefit in physical pieces, this takes up too much of the solo performance. Her strongest moments are when she is dancing fluidly across the stage and I was left wanting to see more of this.

'Trip the Light's strongest moments are when the dancers are improvising. The company's unity is astounding, it is as if they are anticipating exactly what each others are about to do. Their graceful movements contrast perfectly with their sharp shifts across the stage. In one section they ask audience members to draw their paths across the stage, when a dancer meets another in their path the duet that follows is natural and impressive. However, it is a shame that the strength of the improvised section is not carried through into the choreographed sections. Having never seen improvisation in a dance piece, I was impressed by their boldness. However, the section working by asking an audience member to choose a song on an iPad and another one to tell them the name of a film feels amateur and unorganised. It also leaves the possibility for no audience member to offer a film title which would have been hugely uncomfortable for both audience and performers. There are many more creative ways to execute this section and they would make the piece stronger, it was unfortunate that they opted for such an unprofessional choice.

'Trip the Light' is a new and bold piece of physical theatre. It is an exploration of friendship and identity by three very talented dancers, its major flaw is the inability to see the talents of the dancers in the choreographed sections but where their talent is demonstrated it is beautiful, subtle and elegant.

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