Dance, physical theatre & circus review: In The Wine

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This new production from New Zealand’s Java Dance Company is more a party than a show – which has its pros and cons.

Star rating: ***

Venue: Assembly Checkpoint (322)

The performers create a celebratory atmosphere filled with sights, sounds and smells – and it’s hard to argue with that. But a party only really works if you already have, or can forge, a connection with the people around you. So when two of the cast get married and work their way round the room hugging us all, it just feels like wasted seconds that could be spent on an actual performance.

The five-strong cast aren’t short of enthusiasm or talent, and there’s a passionate mixture of live music and exuberant movement here. It’s also a multi-sensory affair, with herbs dropped into our hands and spices crushed underfoot to release aromas.

So, much like the company’s other Fringe show, Back of the Bus (which actually takes place on a moving bus) there’s an element of unusualness about In The Wine. The absence of a solid framework and choreography that truly engages, however, diminishes Java’s endeavour.

Until 29 August. Today 1:10pm.