GOLive, GOLab June 15th, 2015. Kentish Town.
Returning for its third year, GOlive continues to create a buzz and inspiration around multi-disciplinary performance, programming experimental pieces and works in progress in its original home, the Giant Olive Theatre at The Lion and Unicorn Pub, Kentish Town. Writers, artists, musicians, dancers, friends and family share ideas over drinks before, after and during the show which is hosted by Donald Hutera in his hap hazard, no messing but deeply caring approach to his artists and their work. Every night I have attended over the years has surprised, baffled and satisfied. This is where ideas are made, where artists talk with brutal honesty and where edgy and alternative pieces are shown to an interrogative audience with a subtle sense of vulnerability.
Opening the evening of June 15th, Debbie Lee-Anthony and Neil Fisher relive distant memories of birthday parties and times gone by in 'Bette Revisited'. With two performers who come with bundles of personality, there is room to let the natural humour and relationship between the two come to the fore, which is slightly masked by the dancing. Four tracks evoke distant memories or funny lyrics that allow the personalities of the duo to emerge. These moments where gestures follow the lyrics are where this cabaret/musical theatre style piece is as its strongest, oozing humour.
Brian Gillespie’s 'Interconnection', saw an interesting take on popping. Shedding the baggy clothes, attitude and hunched over, weighted posture of a hip-hop dancer, Guillespie stands shirtless beneath the lights that pick out every tiny nuance and isolation in his twitching, ticking muscles. Vulnerability is first conveyed by this bare back and wonky shoulders which is gradually overridden by the control and accuracy of his mechanical movements. After this novelty has worn off, an agenda for the rest of the work becomes vague, leaving the beginning the strongest part of the piece.
As a the sound of a violin emanates from a doorway, soloist Milan Berginc emerges in shadow form in John Landor’s 'Music-in Motion', playing four pieces including Bach. A silhouette provides a visual focus to the violin which conjures images of summer gardens, cut through with the intensity of vibrating lows against birdsong top notes. As Berginc himself appears, the intimate surroundings allow an acute focus on the movement, shape and rhythm of the fingers and their instrument. A fanfare of staccato notes and piques with jarring, argumentative moments in the third piece keep ears alert for an ending with a soulful, wailful cry. Watching a musician and hearing his instrument so intimately was a charming experience and one that should be part of a multi-disciplinary programme more often.
Clutching her hour glass, Debbie Lee-Anthony serenades her time quite literally as we see the sand falling before her in 'Threshold'. What is her relationship with time? Is she marking it, measuring it or watching it fall away? Feelings about age, and the day to day struggles of life inform nuances of the vocabulary which display the quirky style of Lee-Anthony’s choreography. Coveting her hourglass as she circles around like water draining down a plug hole, each phrase demonstrates a caring for her time and an acknowledgment of choice, directions and options to take which appear as the dancer looks one way and then the next, surrendering in a series of high releases and tip toeing feet.
In 'Marching Bands', Zoi Dimitriou’s journey through the improvised text by Julyen Hamilton is constantly moving at a regular pace like a pendulum. All elbows and limbs, Dimitriou’s linear and slightly de-humanised delivery of isolations and gestures unsettles as a subtle smirk, or well known sign appears amid the revolving shapes. Simplicity of line and complexity of vocabulary create a visual feast with images evoked by the voice of a narrator slash deity, around this mechanical yet wonderful figure that seems to march through time.
My silent flower girl My Johannson is stoic and methodical in her internal and deeply powerful performance, 'Sâl ô dâg'. Her ritual was refined and elegant. As her body and limbs circled like a whirlwind she maintained gravitas throughout. Her heavy elegance imbues her movement as she repeats twisting motifs of rotating hands glued at the wrists, whilst, rotating, curving and dropping the upper body and arms over and over again. Her feet or head are often rooted firmly creating a sense of security in this overcast state. She hugs herself in empty embraces with an endless repetition that transforms into flagellation evoking images in Pina Bausch’s work. Her unwavering focus, and use of stillness and slow methodical movement draw an audience into her world, as she completely absorbs herself in her private grief. This piece is mesmerising however the abrupt ending is at odds with the methodical approach to the movement. Why doesn’t Johannson collect her flowers in the painstakingly slow way that she laid them out at the start? Returning to her seat in the audience as if to begin her life’s toil all over again.
Running from June 6th -18th with up to five or six shows a night, Kentish Town becomes a hub of entertainment and creativity. The next GOlive 2015 can be caught at Oxford Playhouse 15th-18th July and Winchetser, Friday 24th July at The Chesil Theatre.