DESPITE the title, there is nothing exclusive about the party being thrown by choreographer Janice Parker.
In fact, it’s inclusive in every way. Not only is the audience invited and encouraged to feel part of the occasion, but the performers bring a rich diversity to the party.
Quite what we’re celebrating is unclear, but from the moment we arrive it’s obvious our hosts – all 11 of them – want us to have a good time. Cake is consumed, introductions are made, music plays and an atmosphere of friendly congeniality fills the room. Or, more accurately, rooms – because Private Party doesn’t stay still for long.
As we’re ushered from one space to another, a new aspect of the event unfolds. In one room, a lone dancer moves to the beat as if nobody is watching. In another, we’re all seated in small groups to watch intimate duets and ensemble pieces unfold.
Then it’s off to another room for the “tamboola” (think tombola, but much more fun) with amiable emcee – and the show’s co-creator – Richard Layzell.
Devised collaboratively by Parker, Layzell and the performers, Private Party has much to offer. The mixed ability cast (some professionally trained, some not; some with additional support needs, some not) gives the piece a unique flavour, and the song choices are sublime.
And although more could have been done to engage us emotionally, a beautiful quartet instigated by captivating performer Craig Simpson drew us in to the very heart of the party.