Fringe dance review: WeCameToDance, Nicolson Square

There’s lots of fun to be had at this “interplanetary interactive musical,” but it also has a serious environmental message, writes Kelly Apter


WeCameToDance, Nicolson Square ****

Perhaps a more accurate title for this show is “YouCameToDance" – because if you buy a ticket for this "interplanetary interactive musical” that’s exactly what you’ll be doing.

With chairs available only for those who need them, the rest of the audience stands in individual demarcated squares – and when I say “stands” what I really mean is “dances.” From start to finish, the interaction never stops – which will either fill you with utter joy or complete horror, depending on your relationship with movement.

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    To my eyes (ears, arms and legs), WeCameToDance is a blast – but one that carries a serious message. It’s a performance that’s wrapped up in light-hearted fun, from the pre-show snack and face-painting (alien eye make-up a speciality) to the cute cup of post-show elderflower juice.

    The music and choreography are exuberant and uplifting, and although you’re encouraged to join in, if you just stood and swayed, nobody would judge you.

    What we are being held to account for (in the nicest way possible) is our attitude towards the climate crisis. A friendly alien approaches us in the foyer, with an invitation to write our solution to sustainable living on her board. Then, throughout the show, we hear visitors from the planet “Hanyana” speak and sing about their recent brush with ecological disaster.

    Hanyana may be fictional, but it’s based on our closest habitable planet, so when the aliens tell us they looked to their food system to step back from the brink, it’s easy to see how the same could apply on Earth.

    Although the show is family-friendly and light-touch, there are some heavy-hitters behind the scenes. Food Tank, an American non-profit that focusses on the climate crisis, food insecurity and food waste, are the producers. They brought in NASA specialists, the linguist behind the languages used in Game of Thrones, and a Grammy-nominated musician to write the score.

    For the show’s Scottish debut, they’ve enlisted Leith’s House of Jack, a dance company known for its accessibility and capacity for joy. The result is an experience – and an environmental lesson – that’s as impactful as you choose to make it.

    Until 28 August

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