Dance, Physical Theatre and Circus review: Not Today’s Yesterday, Zoo Southside, Edinburgh

Not Today's Yesterday, Zoo Southside (Venue 82)
Not Today's Yesterday, Zoo Southside (Venue 82)
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On the surface, this is a fairytale told through Indian classical dance and spoken word.

Not Today’s Yesterday, Zoo Southside * * * *

But the twinkly music that lands on your ears like fairy dust belies the darker content beneath. Australian choreographer Lina Limosani (the woman behind last year’s Fringe hit, The Spinners) and Bharatanatyam dancer Seeta Patel (DV8, Shobana Jeyasingh Dance) are the dream team behind the show. They’ve taken the idea of political revisionism, of re-writing or whitewashing history to leave behind embarrassing stains, and turned it into a visually compelling piece of dance theatre.

Patel is a beautiful mover, blending the traditional movement from her Bharatanatyam training with Limosani’s contemporary dance style.
Standing on a platform like a politician, her arms switch from graceful to almost arachnid as she portrays bluster and spin through movement.

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Then the fairytale voiceover begins, occasionally lip-synched by Patel, but more often soundtracking her dance. The text is dreamlike, and not always easy to follow, but essentially we’re taken back to another time, an era when “everyone owned everything” and nobody went without. A large plait Rapunzel would be proud off falls from above, and Patel winds her way through the strands, as we’re told that everyone back then had such hair.

Later, when the dark brown hair becomes white, there’s a whiff of colonialism in the air. As capitalism starts to boom, the mood changes (especially when we hear Thatcher’s voice in amongst the dogma soundbites). Patel’s pretty green dress is replaced by a black outfit, and the glass backdrop is redecorated.

Clutching a pot of white paint, she pours lines across the pane – a reference to whitewashing but, intentionally or otherwise, it ends up looking like a giant barcode.
Thought-provoking, multi-layered and engaging, this one-woman show gives you much to dwell on.
Kelly Apter
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