ON A BLAZING hot day, it seemed somehow appropriate to see a sandy beach appear on a gap site in Brunswick Street. The six tons of heaped sand, with a few simple props, stood in for a desert island in this new dance piece by the Marc Brew Company, known for creating work with performers both with and without disabilities.
i(land) - Brunswick Street South, Glasgow
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Three dancers are marooned there: Brew relies on the other two to move his lower limbs or haul him up a rope ladder, as they circle around this small space searching for escape in a tumbling pattern of bodies. Eventually they build a basic wheelchair which enables Brew and the female dancer to leave, an interesting reversal of the idea of a chair representing restrictions (as in the deadly phrase “wheelchair-bound”). But it cannot carry them all, leaving the other male dancer sinking beneath the sand.
While the limited performance area works thematically, the constraints that it puts on all three of the dancers’ range of movement means that the piece quickly becomes repetitive. There are too many apparently random stretches and thrusts which don’t really add anything and Brew is stuck fiddling with the wheelchair’s construction for too long. Without a strong narrative, only the driving musical score by former Sons And Daughters guitarist Scott Paterson adds any sense of drama.
After the performance, a number of watching toddlers were invited to come and see the sand. Watching their unself-conscious play was a reminder of how basic a physical pleasure this is and, perhaps, of how the piece could have done more with its premise.
Seen on 24-25.07.14