Dance, Physical Theatre & Circus review: Folk

Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Few things are more ­alienating for an audience than somebody laughing hysterically on stage for no reason.

ZOO Southside (Venue 82)

***

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We don’t know what’s funny, we’re outside the joke and it breaks the spell. So when a dancer did just that in the middle of Folk, my heart sank. But if we push that moment aside, this piece from the wonderful National Dance Company Wales has plenty to offer – even before it starts.

Joe Fletcher’s set is a ­genuine sight to behold, and presumably a nightmare to tour. An enormous tree hangs upside down from the ceiling, branches spiralling out, a large pile of discarded leaves lying beneath. It serves as a beautiful hook to hang things on, both literally and metaphorically.

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Choreographer and company head, Caroline Finn was inspired by everyday people living everyday lives for the piece, and we see idiosyncratic characters emerge throughout, bookended by family photo-style tableaux.

Towards the end, Finn’s choreography, the dancers’ dynamism and Fletcher’s atmospheric lighting design (is there nothing that man can’t do?) all come together in a powerful sequence that is both slick and earthy at the same time.

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More of that would have made this 30-minute piece a force to be reckoned with.

Until tomorrow. Tomorrow 3:30pm.