Monthly Archives: July 2021

The Control Project

Brighton Fringe

26th June – 12th July, 2021

As this was my final work for the Brighton fringe 2021 I was filled to the brim with expectation. The Control Project was a dance that told a story, presented in a science fiction idiom by Project Female. It would be the most insightful of modern arguments about grooming the human populous with the example of a view of an asylum corridor with bars on its doors.

On a very large stage the dancers grouped together as they obeyed announcements over the speaker. The large layout was spectacularly used with a big screen at the back, and two large tarp covered scaffolding boxes on wheels. These wheeled platforms were wheeled everywhere around the stage.

As did our dancers who made movements to music and songs that had the sense of being robotic but then in another scene soulful and husky. It looked like an action game but the dancing slowed the pace as well as speeding it up. All fell to the floor to lie in the dim light; the mighty unison of dance movements was pulled apart by one of them when they looked like waking up from this project into some kind of a revelation. The writing used all things old and new to make its points. It drew from wide ranging representation of a great many cultures (not least the science fiction body).

The props that were used were – lighting, screen footage, orb-lit people, film, all went ahead with the story as the dancing had us glued to experience of this story. The four or five levels worked great as the show grew and shrunk before us. The voice giving them instruction sounded soulless as she ordered them around all be it in a great dance.

They made the process magical of being in this world being brought to life and had a sense of the future about it. The pronouncement of the story really grabbed us with costume changes to suit the stars and the so many well done maneuvers in an ever widening tale. With the cast being so young it helped give it the certain atmosphere of youth being examined. The plot was fulfilled in the dance by the dancers, as it had its memorable moments of style and training.

This was a very rich looking, enriching us and at the end leaving us with a great sense of well-being. No words need be spoken when the story is this clear. The noise was controlled along with their behaviour and their personalities. We felt that this sci-fi world had been in control for a while and it was in that in abundance. The movements looked like reaching up and almost silently called on us to help escape the sterile organisation of females. Confronting and challenging us to think about this situation where the technological evolution had taken a step in a controlling environment.

They wore yellow robes with large barcodes seemed into the hem, they all had half their hair grey and half dark, they moved as one but their point of view was from a very human perspective. All offering; a humanity of unison, of selflessness, with an outspoken conforming into the whole; as if without a soul. The soul kept on appearing in the dancing when they looked stirred and in longing. It had a soft side to it even in the metal scaffolding. It was a theatrical cirque with no acrobatic props but plenty of vision, a vision that stirred and was soon to arrive.

Daniel Donnelly

The Travesty of Richard III

Brighton Fringe

28th May – 27th June, 2021

I’m sure if Shakespeare were here he would congratulate this play/movie made for the Brighton Fringe 2021. It worked as well as any adaptation since the time of the bard and I was glad when the credits included the playwrights name. The dynamic duo of Ian Renshaw and Helen Manners created every facet of the show from multiple characters to a great many costume designs.

It all came together as ‘The Travesty of Richard 111’ unravelled its unscrupulous plot to kill for a place on the English throne. In a performance to envy the war of the roses in the 15th Century was oddly represented in this play as an age of war made hilarious from strikingly well conducted acting.

The comedy aspect as it was written so long ago had the laughter was coaxed out of us, merging us with the modern world and the life of the 15th century. And so with only a cast of two; the scripts unfolding majesty which was about to unveil an insane plot for the throne through the devious developments of the Duke of Gloucester’s plan for King Edward’s demise. Any other obstacle to Richard claiming the throne of England was to be crushed with inane pleasure from Richard III.

He (Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who was one of a long list of characters, played by Ian Renshaw) had a compatriot in Elizabeth 1st (played by Helen) who strongly desired for the Duke to become King, not least because he tricked her into it. It was his most flattering charm and words that had her in the throes of his arms.

The exclamation brought about by the side of this play was in its element as an event made for the screen which gave the actors anther language to play with.

It was in good conscience a story of the screen with scenes of unearthly colours and make up, where Richard always looked a little grey but certainly no less charming. It created modes to revel in the characters in a modern and attention grabbing effects delivering the jokes of the century.

In its entirety the theatrical nuances seemed ahead of its time, dreaming of a perfect play made possible by technology. But no less an enthusiastic appraisement of Shakespeare’s work, a lyrical master stroke to stir our senses.

Without the atmosphere of live theatre, an audience, they clasped the chance to free up the medium and focus on a much wider aspect to come from. The Duke’s full face seemed to fall from grace. As happened when Richmond who had returned from campaigning to take the crown slayed Richard in battle

I say this in all seriousness but my funny bone was hyper active and I felt a natural high with my guilty laughs for what was a catastrophic passage of time. Richard’s aura and his black bob haircut, was thrown in with certain confusion for us, did we support his aims because he made us laugh? Whose side were we really on? Entwining us to all the characters was a revelry and interesting interaction performed by Ian and Helen both shown to bring with every blow, a transformational theatrical spirit. It was a tragedy of epic proportions that had the tempo to line the historic events.

Daniel Donnelly