Dance, physical theatre & circus review: Are We Stronger Than Winston?

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While the governments of the west fret and bicker over their own short-term future, the nations of the South Pacific are now at high risk of becoming the first catastrophic victims of global warming, swept by a combination of intensifying tropical cyclones and rising sea levels.

Star rating: ****

Venue: Greenside @ Nicolson Square (Venue 209)

And at Nicolson Square until tomorrow, there’s a chance to see a powerful rapid response to that crisis from Fiji’s leading contemporary dance company VOU, who – with choreographer Navi Fong – have created this fierce 50-minute show reflecting on the experience of Cyclone Winston, which devastated the islands in February of this year.

Seven powerful dancers create a fine series of visual images conjuring up the impact of the storm, the huge waves it generated, and the scrabbling, tree-felling, home-destroying disruption it inflicted on land. The choreography is a thrilling mix of traditional South Seas movement and cutting-edge contemporary dance, full of innovative strength and huge emotional energy; and there are also spoken sequences in which the performers ask why they didn’t listen more respectfully to the warnings about Winston’s unprecedented strength, and why the loved ones who were standing beside them as they faced the storm are suddenly gone.

Sometimes, in these verbal interventions, the emotion behind the words threatens to overwhelm the discipline of the performance. Yet if there are any people on earth who have a right to be vocally angry and grief-stricken, it is the people of Pacific nations like Fiji; and the Fringe is at its best when it creates space in which we can meet a company like VOU, here in Edinburgh so briefly, but so full of a skill, fury and creative passion that urgently needs to be seen, and heard.

Until 13 August. Today 10pm.

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