REVIEW: The River – The Briggait, Glasgow

This review was originally written for the Public Reviews at: http://www.thepublicreviews.com/the-river-the-briggait-glasgow/

Choreographer: Natasha Gilmore

Musical Director: Quee MacArthur

With a cast of 150, Barrowland Ballet’s The River takes us on a literal and artistic journey with dance, live music and song, along the banks of the river on which the city of Glasgow is built – the Clyde.

Exploring the stories of those who make the city their home and the vibrancy they bring to its ever-changing culture, this is a joyous, at times poignant, but ultimately life-affirming story of the pain of leaving and the joy of new beginnings.

Beginning our journey in the Briggait we process Mardi Gras style, accompanied by a brass band, across the busy roads of the city centre to the banks of the river itself. There is dance, music, song and storytelling as we travel along, at times uplifted, at times moved, and often amused.

Much of the joy of the piece is in the reactions of the passers-by as they happen upon this glorious spectacle, made up of both locals and the vast number of tourists in the city for the Commonwealth Games, their curious looks turning to smiles as they embrace this eccentric endeavour.  Indeed the size of the audience seems to swell as the journey progresses.

The mix of traditional and contemporary music is eclectic and entertaining; from traditional work songs through Jimi Hendrix’ “Crosstown Traffic”  to the Proclaimers’ “ 500 Miles”, each is delivered with gusto by the cast. One of the most appealing aspects of the whole production is the sheer joy on the faces of the performers, joy in both their enthusiasm for the piece and joy at the reaction they have elicited from the receptive audience.

This is an uplifting experience, a wonderful opportunity for the citizens of Glasgow to take part in a shared experience that celebrates the ever-changing life of this city. It will send you back onto the streets with joy in your heart and a spring in your step and a renewed pride in this wonderful place.

Reviewed: July 21st

Image: Chih Peng Lucas Kao