A short one this morning since I only saw one show yesterday – how is that possible?
One of my highlights of last year’s Fringe was Falling Man by the dance company Smallpetitklein, performed as a solo by Tom Pritchard. It’s a piece for which ‘powerful’ seems a kind of feeble word. Making art about 9/11 is a big ask – how to be emotionally truthful without being mawkish, or shocking for the sake of it. But this solo really got to the heart of things. I was annoyed at myself for spending too much of the first time I saw it in thinking about what it was doing and not fully engaging – so I was really keen to see it again when it came back as part of the longer programme Within This Dust.
It’s still amazing. Tom Pritchard has incredibly mobile limbs and ‘falls’ with great power and, sometimes, grace, while his delivery of the spoken elements is heartrending. I would recommend this piece without hesitation if you are ever lucky enough to see it.
However, I felt that the rest of the programme didn’t live up to it. I recognise that I may have been biased by the discomfort of the seating arrangements in Studio 3. The seats are very small and I was wedged there with my shoulder in someone’s armpit. Very warm too. After the very early warning signs of a panic attack (thankfully something I know how to de-escalate!) I spent an hour leaning forward. My back still hates me for it.
The first piece ‘Embers’ is a touching reflection on grief using 400 pieces of crumpled paper – the point where the dancer drops one and you see it fall is an emotional moment. I also found the later, rather factual, voiceover recollection of 9/11 to be very touching. But the duet S/HE, while beautiful, did little for me, and the film piece only got an ‘OK’.
I’d say – go just for Falling Man. But do your back a favour and get an end seat.
Note: I was given a free ticket for Within This Dust through my blogging for Clicket.