Theatre review: Unusual Places to Dance (Part 2), Cumbernauld

INSPIRED by the recollections of around 150 Cumbernauld pensioners, this moving piece is a follow-up to Tricky Hat Productions’ show last year, foregrounding experiences that tend to be overlooked by physical theatre.

Unusual Places to Dance (Part 2)

Cumbernauld Theatre

* * *

Performed by Linda Duncan McLaughlin, David Gallagher and Carrie Mancini and drawn from testimony compiled during the company’s 18 month residence with Cumbernauld Action Care for the Elderly, this is not a historical depiction of distant voices and still lives. Rather, it’s an immediate, contemporary and vital exploration of loneliness, grief, love and resilience. There’s a mordant humour to the repetitive quirks and tics of Willie and Margaret’s clockwork routine of tea cups and spousal irritation, the pair circling each other with the choreography of a marriage long settled into a groove. But when the effusive Margaret’s memory lapses begin to grow uncontrollable, sensitively presented by Mancini, it’s sad and not a little shocking. Elsewhere, the production makes extensive use of video projection, the recorded footage echoing and commenting upon the emotional states of the characters. With neat, metatheatrical contrivance, local residents have been encouraged to impart their anecdotes in a video project set up by their library. Alice (McLaughlin), at a crossroads in her life two years after the death of her husband, uncovers more than she bargained for in the sharing process. But as with the production as a whole, which for the most part eschews melodrama, the act of both oral and physical storytelling are revealed to be empowering and rejuvenating.