Director: Michael Vale
Choreographer: Bobak Walker and The Cast
Reviewer: Cathy Crabb
The Public Reviews Rating:
A hip-hop crew have stumbled upon The Fighting Cocks pub and take a journey through English folk traditions in dance and music. Beat Box, Clog and Morris Dancing and traditional folk songs are all stirred into the brew in our time when pubs and many other aspects of our culture are seemingly dying out.
The Demon Barbers- who play excellent folk music throughout the show- are responsible for the concept that was originally ‘Time Gentleman Please’ developed through a partnership between Bush Hartshorn (the then Artistic Director of Yorkshire Dance) and Damien Barber, in order to make traditional English dance more appealing to a wider audience. This culminated into an original show at The Carriageworks in Leeds which then through funding has developed further and also had a name change.
With a simple story weaving this leap from old to new forms intricately together the show celebrates change as well as what the past has given us and is of course heightened- an idea in ritual and celebration as old as time- by intoxication, allowing revelry to break the chain of defence. With the green man prevalent- and symbolically summoned through an old pewter tankard-past rituals and ancient cultural customs are given a nod.
This is a superb show with a plethora of talented musicians and dancers featuring amongst other treats the amazing beatboxer Grace Savage and the awe inspiring rapper sword dance which received gasps from the audience.
When the musicians and dancers mix across the genres and Morris dancing happens alongside hip hop styles there is something taken away from the village green twee assumption of one and the gritty urban gang stereotype of the other. Musicians and dancers often work in and are accomplished in several genres and styles. However, there isn’t usually a cross-over of audience for these polar opposites and so I think the show is successful in widening an appreciation of different forms.
A perfect example of how we should praise the mixing of cultures, yet accept that our rooted traditions also have a place.
The Lock In - The Lowry, Salford,