This is the Edinburgh Fringe – there's a clue in the name 'Fringe' meaning on the edge, the periphery, none mainstream. Taiwan Season: Monster is radical in its conception and avant-garde in its form and shape. It is exactly what the Fringe was built for. There is no standard beginning, middle or end here. There is a permeable membrane through which the audience passes and at some undetermined time they find themselves watching a dance performance. I don't want to explain how they achieve this as it will denie the reader the opportunity to experience first hand the sleight of hand used by the choreographer Yen-Cheng Liu to almost absorb the audience into the performance.
The audience enters a heavily smoke filled room and can observe the slow build up of props and materials. This creates a strange apprehensive tension within the onlookers and it's a clever device to charge up the audience even as they enter the room. It is 15 minutes before what most people would define as dance begins to emerge from the haze and mist and from out this grey fog a nicely crafted soundscape emerges. A hooded figure stands silently at the back of the stage and the audience is constantly questioning whether they are being observed and assessed. Indeed the whole piece raises more questions than it answers.
The ending is absolutely genius with no one quite sure what has happened or whether it is truly ended. People leave cautiously and uncertainly and it made me laugh out loud. I would call this experimental dance where everything is to be determined and nothing is known for sure. It pushes at the boundaries of dance and challenges old standards and protocols. For some this will be seen as progressive for others they will dismiss it as 'bat shit crazy'. It will divide audiences and those type of shows are always the best. They tread a different path and where they will lead we have yet to see.
[Morag Deyes MBE the artistic director for Dancebase should be congratulated for her curation of the works appearing at this venue, they are diverse, different and nearly always interesting. This show is so different from the typical dance show it takes some courage to present this kind of work – but I'm glad they do.]
Aug 9-11, 13-14, 16-18, 20-21, 23-25 5:15pm