Artificial Things, Zoo Southside, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Stopgap Dance Company
Lucy Bennett (Artistic Director/Choreographer), Yoshifumi Inao (Guest Choreographer), Anna Jones (Design), Chahine Yavrovan (Lighting Design), Callum Graham (Company Manager), Francois Langton (Technical Manager), Sho Shibata (Producer), Rosey Morling (Costume Supervisor)
Amy Butler, Laura Jones, Chris Pavia, Dave Toole, David Wildridge, Helen Bendell (Henry Hoover)
Running time

Stopgap Dance Company is renowned for their inclusive productions, integrating both disabled and non-disabled performers in an exploration of trust and interdependent dance that challenges the perceptions of a typical dance company.

Straight from their critically acclaimed premiere at Sadler Wells, Stopgap presents their new show ‘Artificial Things’ at the Fringe. With a wonderfully diverse group of performers they celebrate each member’s strengths and weaknesses, combining together to explore the difficulties of co-existence and unity.

As the audience enters, each performer carries out small pieces of choreography at sporadic moments. A tall glass box resembling a huge fairground popcorn machine sits ominously onstage and as a rock song suddenly blares out, Dave Toole fires into action within it, in an energetic and almost provocative burst of choreography.

From this moment onwards the cast flows between solo scores, duets, and entire ensemble sections, exploring the interdependence between each dancer and finding innovative ways to incorporate each person’s unique abilities. Both touching and challenging to watch, the performance is exhilarating, emotional and provoking all at once.

The piece is not only deftly choreographed but visually stunning. From the colour palate to the lighting and the diversity of the dancers integrated to almost create one being, the entire show is a feast for the eyes. Every dancer was outstanding.

With a stripped back set and a scene change carried out by the stage managers in full view of the audience, the piece has a hint of Brecht which adds to the authenticity of the show.

Abstract in its content, the piece jumps from happy and carefree to extremely intense sections such as one particularly striking moment involved the glass box, an abundance of confetti and Chris Pavia.

At times a story was hard to grasp, however each small section was open to interpretation and proved equally enthralling. What the show highlights most is the beauty of body diversity in dance which should be more widely celebrated through the likes of the Integrated Fringe Programme and Stopgap Dance Company.

A truly stunning exploration of individuality.

Performances: 23-31st August, 14.10pm