Pros: Cool teenage club moves and embarrassing parents strutting their stuff make this a dance piece that everyone will relate to.
Cons: Some parts were a little too subtle for me but on the whole I found it charming.
You can always rely on Battersea Arts Centre to provide a variety of eclectic performances. It’s a buzzy hub of entertainment for all ages and with great community spirit.
Echo Beach is a piece of dance theatre by Hannah Sullivan ostensibly about different styles of dancing. We’re not talking waltzes, rumbas and jives here but rather your common and garden dance styles. Like those displayed by family members after a celebratory drink or three, or by yourself as you evolve your own style of musical movement with inspiration from watching others around you.
Hannah is the sole performer and her cheeky, engaging persona is charming and full of warmth. Alone on a bare set she takes you on a journey of dance styles – will you relate to the hip wiggle or the shoulder shimmy? As she moves through the panoply of moves at some point you’re bound to recognise yourself. There were many laughs and giggles amongst the audience as our ‘cool moves’ were exposed. I loved the bit where two dancers check each other out and begin to adopt the style of one another. And haven’t we all been there and done that? No? Just me then?
Of course any show like this gets a rich material boost from parents drunken dancing. We’ve all been there, either laughing our socks off as little kids or with shameful grimacing as we get older. Watching your older rellies relive their youth is always hysterical – until you somehow suddenly find yourself in that camp with people smiling indulgently at you.
I have to admit that some of the more esoteric parts were lost on me; I didn’t understand the significance of the infinitesimal hand movements; just a subtlety too far for me personally and yet I remained engaged for the 55 minute duration.
I may be doing the art form a disservice to liken it to observational humour but I mean it with good intention. This is great physical comedy even though clearly there is something deeper and emotional at work.
Created and performed by: Hannah Sullivan
Dramaturgy: Alice Tatton Brown
Sound Design: Yas Clarke
Design: Annelies Henney
Movement Advice: Dan Canham
Booking Until: Final performance 8 November 2014. For more information please visit http://www.hannahsullivan.co.uk