Ironically, given the vast amount of chairs on stage during 9, this show falls a little between two stools.
9, Church Hill Theatre, Edinburgh ***
Choreographed by Hélène Blackburn, artistic director of Canada’s Cas Public company, 9 is a family show aimed at ages seven and over. There are moments created deliberately with younger viewers in mind: a remote control car zipping across the floor; an abundance of tiny and even tinier chairs; film footage of young people; and even a few children brought up to participate.
Whether this is enough to keep them occupied is questionable. If it is, then in between the dog barks and random shouts from the five performers, they’re being exposed to some truly phenomenal dancing.
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Blackburn’s choreography is a perfect example of the wonderful alchemy produced when classical ballet is placed in a contemporary setting.
The music of Beethoven and the ‘small hidden defects’ in her dancers’ bodies were Blackburn’s inspiration, adding yet more ingredients to an already busy pudding. Snatches of music come and go, and thought-provoking dialogue about life with a hearing impairment accompanies the film.
Taking off his hearing aid at the start of the show and replacing it at the end, dancer Cai Glover feels very much at the centre of 9. His actions, and the video soundbites, form a commendable introduction to young people unaware of the challenges faced by those who can’t hear.