OUR DANCING FEET 2013/ 14
Our Dancing Feet
Great art, and I think that this production is great art, is often able to tell a big story by closely examining something small. Sara Clifford has produced a poignant evocation of a dance hall of sixty years ago, but she’s also given us a sense of the enormous social changes that have taken place in Britain since that time.
She and her co-producer Veronica Stephens have tapped into local people’s memories and given us a form of oral collage, both with the shoes in the lobby and also with a wide-screen video animation of similar material in the Winter Garden’s bar before the start of the show. They’ve used a lot of local people, too. The dance sequences in the main Floral Hall had dozens of couples circling the floor to the music of the live band, and it felt – real. At the show’s finale, the whole space was filled with groups of dancers, local people ranging in age from children right up to pensioners. It was a very visual evocation of the passing of the decades.
We were there, in the fifties, and yet somehow the spectacle also managed to have the quality of a vision, shimmering just out of reach. It was sometimes hard to hear the characters – it’s a big dance hall, remember, and they weren’t miked up – but that didn’t detract from the experience. Neither did the audience – there were around a hundred of us promenading around the building, but of course we didn’t feel like an audience – we became the dance hall crowd, and so the illusion of a night at the Winter Garden was made really intense.
REVIEW BY STRAT MASTORIS
FULL REVIEW HERE:
The mystery, the magic, the expectation, the surprises, the costumes, the ‘period’ feel, the characterization, the pathos, the memories ( mine!) and the wonderful, wonderful dancing! I feel totally invigorated!
Wonderful combination of real experience, entertainment, beautiful dancing, all ages and exuberance!
THE PORT, THE BEAST AND THE TRAVELLER 2012
Absolutely wonderful, so moving – perfect creation. Thanks a million! and Amazing – very moving. Wonderful dramatic location.
Sara Clifford’s script gave the large Newhaven audience an emotional journey that encompassed their town, their community and the looming landscape of the town’s Fort.
Judith Hibberd, Arts and Artist Development.
HEAD OVER HEELS:
What a fantastic piece of theatre!
Marian Pocock, Age Concern Oxfordshire, City and County
This is brilliant. You should really go and see this. I’m telling you this because your first instinct will be to run a mile…You’ll dismiss it as ‘issues’ theatre, earnest as a Dimbleby and entertaining as a test card.
You’ll be wrong. The central character is, indeed, elderly. She does, indeed, fall and spends a little time considering out loud how this could have been avoided. But for the next hour there’s fantasy, tragedy and an affecting exploration of what it might mean to have lived a ‘good’ life. Oh, and a big closing dance number…
..This is how to do low budget community theatre properly – with energy, imagination and thoughtful direction mere monetary and technological constraints are of no consequence… But when you go (and you really should go, did I mention this?), you’ll barely notice all of that – you’ll be too busy watching good theatre.
Matt Bright, Daily Info, Oxford
A SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP:
A heartfelt piece of writing.. stylish and taut production.. cracking performances..
A THOUSAND DAYS:
Intelligent script.. deftly structured, the relationships economically
plotted, the dialogue telling.. an engaging and thoughtful play about political
and personal compromise.
The clarity of intellectual and emotional understanding is unmistakeable
GRIN AND BEAR IT
What a corker it turns out to be. This nerve-wracked, whirlwind of a play
about the persecution of writers, is a clever tender reriteration of the personal-is-political
notion.. Thoroughly memorable
AND HIS NAME WAS JIM:
Written with wit and warmth.. A fun, stimulating play
An engaging original piece
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