Pros: An eclectic line-up of high quality performances that caters to many different tastes.
Cons: The promenade format of the show means a lot of awkward and time-consuming movement around the auditorium.
Trip the Light Fantastic Toe is a somewhat bizarre mix of modern dance performances, immersive theatre and music. The evening gets off to a promising start when my guest and I are given a map, a key and a padlock, the latter two of which are part of a game the spectators are invited to play among themselves. We make our way through a corridor dotted with performers, conquer a rope obstacle through the power of limbo dance and finally arrive in the auditorium.
The evening’s programme is moderated by Marquez&Zangs, who solemnly leads the audience through an exercise in ‘connectivity’ that pokes fun at the pretentiousness immersive theatre practitioners are sometimes guilty of. Music is provided by the Junk Orchestra, who use an intriguing collection of upcycled trash to put out some excellent tunes.
The first dance piece is Imagined Futures by Fernanda Munoz-Newsome, Ina Dokmo and Charlie Hope, which the programme tells us is ‘a research into the Zen and Myofascial meridians’. I still have no idea what that means, but the performance, which involves two women in nude-coloured catsuits with reflective bits on it, is interesting enough to look at without understanding what is going on.
Next up is Eleanor Perry, who presents a very physical take on poet Edith Sitwell, aided by recorded quotes and her impressively large array of facial expressions.
In Dog Roses three performers mix movement and sound, eventually each discovering that deep down inside they’re actually dogs. Yes, that sounds a bit weird, but it’s also a genuinely funny and enjoyable piece, if a bit slow off the mark.
After a brief interval in which the audience gets to bust some moves of their own, Saskia Solomons presents a very short but adorable piece about a creature called Humphrey. Humphrey is created by Solomon more or less folding herself in half, putting a light grey leotard over her legs and bum and walking backwards, an impressive and massively entertaining feat.
Bruno Humberto’s piece The Death of the Audience (Death in Progress) alternates between funny and sad and, among other things, includes him riding around the auditorium on a mini bike while frequently trying to run over his spectators. The evening closes with band SuperHeroJam who quickly get the spectators dancing with their infectious rhythms.
Overall Trip the Light Fantastic Toe is an eclectic evening that showcases a wide range of possibilities within the modern dance genre. I am, however, not convinced by the choice to have the audience and the performers sharing the floor space. The spectators are moved around the auditorium from one performance to the next, but the process is time-consuming, unwieldy and generally awkward. The format also means that it’s not always possible to see the performers because of the mass of spectators crowded around them.
What makes this aspect of the evening especially frustrating is that, except for Humberto’s piece, none of the performances actually requires the audience to be on the floor with the performers. Presumably the reason behind it has something to do with the immersive aspect of the evening, although I wasn’t entirely persuaded here either. Being immersive means actually involving your spectators throughout the entire show, not simply putting in a few bits of interaction and saying the word ‘immersive’ once or twice. Nevertheless, these are relatively minor issues that are more than made up for by the quality of the performances. TripSpace Projects have managed to put together an entertaining evening that offers a welcome break from the usual ‘stay in your seat’ format that’s so prevalent in dance performance.
Producer: Tripspace Projects
Booking Information: This show has now completed its run.