Fringe Review: I(CE) (S)CREAM Bolero Femme and THE OTHER SIDE

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By Alex McGee

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I watched I(CE) (S)CREAM Bolero Femme and THE OTHER SIDE without any preconceived ideas. The dancing was beautiful, the dancers were intense, engaging in both pieces, and the music and movement flowed beautifully. Both pieces are quite short; 15 and 20 minutes respectively but with a single performer for I(CE) (S)CREAM Bolero Femme and three dancers in THE OTHER SIDE, there is a strong, constant focus on that movement.

I(CE) (S)CREAM Bolero Femme is original, funny, witty and very creative. Skill is evident in each move, with excellent use of light and darkness, all done on roller skates! Repetitive moves echo the repetition of Ravel’s music, building up to the crescendo of the piece. The dancers of THE OTHER SIDE move together and separately, seeming to work together, yet compete against each other, to empathise, and then to struggle with each other, and in this piece, I felt more of a recognition of women and our daily lives of self and peer measurement, but teamwork, sympathy and empathy.

The dancers were each so graceful, so strong, such strong forces on the stage and this was complemented by the scarcity of props, allowing us to focus on their facial and bodily expressions without distraction.

While I(CE) (S)CREAM Bolero Femme was thoroughly engaging and entertaining, it did not make connections for me to metal health awareness. It is a beautiful piece, and I would happily watch it again, but reflecting a day later, I am not making a connection as I am with THE OTHER SIDE. This made me really focus on how women work, play, relax and exist together, yet compete against each other, come back together, but need time alone as well. I can clearly see the journey from health to illness to recovery, thinking about the interactions and patterns of the performance.

I would say that both performances present mental health challenges as an everyday occurrence, that have periods of health and contentment, co-existing with periods of ill health. This, to me, reflects my lived experience, and I think this everyday presentation of struggle and health is affirming. The three performers in THE OTHER SIDE use their faces, their breath and their bodies to present feeling, anxiety, joy, distrust, resentment and togetherness in ways I did not see at the time, but am understanding better as I reflect on the dancing.

Through the journey of the characters, particularly in THE OTHER SIDE, the lived experience of mental health challenges is explored, described and seen, and encourages the audience to explore that journey through seeing similarities as well as differences. I would encourage audiences to reflect on their own journeys as they experience the music and movement of both pieces. There will be resonance.

Overall, both pieces contributed to a beautiful evening of music, expression and dance. The performers were graceful in their fluidity and engagement and the pieces continue to make me think about my own feelings and levels of self-acceptance.

3.75 Stars

To book tickets for this show, go here.

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