Tag Archives: Tramway

REVIEW: 5 Tangos – Tramway, Glasgow

Hans Van Manen’s 1977 work 5 Tangos has been revived by Scottish Ballet for the inaugural Dance International Glasgow (DIG) festival.

Characterised by its precision and above all by its exquisite symmetry, this fusion of classical ballet technique and Argentine tango is an audience friendly crowd-pleaser from a choreographer renowned as a pioneer of ‘modern’ ballet.

Nuevo tango master Ástor Piazzolla’s score provides an atmospheric soundtrack on which the step-perfect action plays out: the dancers tracing mesmerising geometric patterns across the vast floor of Tramway. If any criticism is to be levelled at the piece it is that it robs the tango of its dangerous sexiness, this work is more playful than passionate. That said there is much here to delight the audience in this hugely entertaining work and it is delivered throughout with an impressive energy, drive and precision.

A poignant and somewhat fitting footnote to 5 Tangos is that it sees Argentinian dancer Luciana Ravizzi leave the company after 13 years, which she does with an exquisite grace in her principal role.

Reviewed on Fri 24 Apr 2015 as part of Dance International Glasgow

This review was originally written for and published by www.thepublicreviews.com

REVIEW: Marc Brew – Exalt, Tramway, Glasgow

In this world premiere of Exalt, Marc Brew has created an exceptionally emotive, eloquently choreographed, ultimately uplifting piece of work.

Choreographed in collaboration with the dancers of Scottish Ballet and inclusive dance development company Indepen-dance who provide opportunities for people with a diverse range of abilities, this is a  joyous celebration of movement: challenging our pre-conceptions about who can be labelled a ‘dancer’ and demonstrating just what those without rigorous formal training can achieve.

To a sonorous score by Nils Frahm, the two companies seamlessly blend to create an hypnotic and involving work. The solos, group and whole ensemble sequences demonstrate an inventive and original range of movement, expertly matched to the requirements of each dancer.

I defy anyone who sees this not be entranced. It is a piece that firmly cements Marc Brew’s reputation as one of the world’s finest living choreographers.

Reviewed on Fri 24 Apr 2015 as part of Dance International Glasgow festival

This review was originally written for and published by www.thepublicreviews.com

REVIEW: Dracula, Mark Bruce Company – Tramway, Glasgow

Played out against an impressively atmospheric and quite frankly terrifying set by Phil Eddolls, which becomes graveyard, tavern, salon and castle with horse-drawn carriage and even baying hounds, Mark Bruce’s dance version of Bram Stoker’s 1897 Gothic classic Dracula is a phenomenally impressive piece of theatre.

ch-dracula-jonathan-goddard-publicity-head_950It grips from the first step and is hypnotic and transfixing to the last. Jonathan Goddard is impressive in the title role, keeping the performance strong, sensual and tortured, never veering into cheap eroticism, indeed so affecting is his portrayal that you can’t help wishing his pain away.

image by farrows creativeThere are a few moments of levity in the proceedings to off-set the horror but the overwhelming feeling is of darkness and whilst faithful to the original it is not slavishly so. There are many delightful nods to the original: a dove that carries letters to and from Jonathan and Mina, echoing the novel’s letters and diary entries and Dracula’s arrival in Whitby as a black dog but this time clad in a rather natty silk top hat. There is also a fantastically staged and choreographed folk-dance sequence which adds greatly to the atmosphere as Jonathan travels through Transylvania.

blogger-image-1176815377A company to look out for and a fantastic addition to the Dracula myth.

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REVIEW: Marc Brew Triple Bill featuring Dame Evelyn Glennie – Tramway, Glasgow

This review was originally written for and published by The Public Reviews

Acclaimed Australian choreographer Marc Brew showcases his unique movement vocabulary and choreographic diversity in this inspirational and emotive triple bill.

Nocturne, is a contemporary dance quartet featuring an original score by Gary Lloyd and prose spoken by author Iain Banks. The opening piece of the programme, it gives the audience a glimpse through city windows at dusk, allowing us to furtively share the intimate moments and restless motions of the bedtime ritual. To its credit it resists the temptation to overuse the jagged, staccato movements which seem to dominate contemporary dance, instead the choreography is expressive, lyrical, flowing, and above all, accessible.

Remember When, Brew’s signature solo piece and the second element of the triple bill, draws upon his life experiences. At 20 years old Brew was injured in a car crash and confined to a wheelchair, as he folds and unfolds his body in this short segment, placing and replacing his limbs, he manages to convey an astounding range and depth of emotion as well as movement which clearly communicates to the audience the journey he has taken to get to where he is.

Aiming to explore the similarities and differences between classical ballet and contemporary dance and questioning whether these elements can be joined successfully, Fusional Fragments is a unique collaboration between Brew, world renowned percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie and prolific TV and film composer Philip Sheppard. The dancers display immense technical skill, agility and precision throughout the work, presenting themselves warrior-like as they interact with Andy Hamer’s striking lighting design and Glennie herself, as she stalks the stage weaving through them, playing an astonishing array of familiar and many more unfamiliar instruments, creating soundscapes which in turn hypnotise, energise and inspire their movements. Glennie’s live performance is the aural icing on the cake and the exceptional dancers and choreography, the visual.

The dancers are strong, dynamic and refreshingly quirky and individual, giving a unique, arresting feeling to this inspirational company and the choreography is compelling and mesmerising. This is a diverse programme and an ideal one to capture and keep those new to contemporary dance. The key to its success is its length, at around 20, 10 and 30 minutes for each element, it grabs and holds the audience’s attention from start to finish, its skilful editing ensuring that we see only the finest quality movement. Inspiring and essential viewing for dance fans.

REVIEW: Macbeth starring Alan Cumming, Tramway Theatre Glasgow 22nd June 2012

Alan Cumming has said:

“I have been obsessed with Macbeth for as long as I can remember. It was the first Shakespeare I ever read, the first I was ever in and it continues to haunt and inspire me”.

It is a brave man indeed who decides to take one of Shakespeare’s most loved plays and tackle it (almost) alone. It is a truly great actor who can single-handedly hold an entire audience in enraptured silence for over 100 minutes and leave them emotionally wrung dry by the end – Alan Cumming is that actor.

Cumming’s theatrical history in Scotland has mainly been as a comic actor – and a fine one at that, but we, his countrymen seem to forget the string of awards he trails in his wake for a series of exceptional dramatic performances. The words Tony, Emmy, Olivier, and BAFTA are liberally sprinkled in his CV. Here he gets the chance to finally show his talents. The skill, grace and ingenuity with which he seamlessly tells the story of Macbeth is utterly hypnotic. He imbues more emotion, power and most of all, understanding to the tortured Scottish monarch than many full casts have managed to achieve.

The atmospheric set design of a desolate, cold psychiatric hospital and the cinematic reactive lighting is chillingly effective in creating an oppressive Orwellian feel.

This production is something truly different and special.

This radical re-imagining of the Scottish play by National Theatre of Scotland is only running for 17 performances at the Tramway prior to the show moving to New York. Unfortunately as of writing this the production is sold-out, but returns can be found by ringing the box office. It may not however, be the last we see of this production – fingers crossed for a triumphant return.

Directed by John Tiffany and Andrew Goldberg

Set Designer Merle Hensel

Lighting Designer Natasha Chivers
Sound Designer Fergus O’Hare