As the week rumbles sadly near to an end, today it has been a real pleasure to sample the widest variety of treats of the Week 53 buffet so far! Like starting your day off with a full English breakfast, feasting on Chinese food for dinner and then polishing off a curry for tea – it’s been a real mixed bag of a day.
I suppose a better analogy would be that it’s been like a bag of revels, because I’ve often not known what to expect going in to some of these shows. The first of which today was Douglas, a dance piece performed by Robbie Synge in the Dock. As part of my job here covering the festival I have been asking audience members what they expect to see before going in to the show, and then asking them again for their thoughts once they leave. You would be forgiven for mistaking the two sections of audience interview as being for two entirely separate shows, such was the disparity between what people expected and what was delivered in the room this afternoon.
Douglas is an astonishingly intimate solo dance performance that envelops the audience in the character that’s unfurling himself as the show progresses. We see a man who, on the face of it, would have no real business associating himself with the props he engages with on the stage due to the seemingly absurd limitation of practical knowledge he has regarding their actual use.
He uses a chair in just about every way but for its intended purpose – and the audience becomes totally charmed by the childlike imagination and vulnerability that they’re seeing during the performance.
As keen readers of this blog will know, I am not overly familiar with dance, but even I could see that something special was happening on that dance floor.
Another show which I think will stay with me for a long time was the brave performance of our resident Salfordians in the beautifully titled, “100% Salford“. I’ve been to the Lowry too many times to count and witnessed comedians suffer immediate foot-in-mouth syndrome when they stride out on to the Lyric stage only to announce to the crowd what a pleasure it is to be “here in Manchester”. So it was great to see a show for the people who not only visit The Lowry but are its neighbours, because whilst they are always the beating heart of the place, tonight they were quite literally the soul of the building.
The audience loved the work too, “it had a real magic about it! It was great to see people who aren’t trained actors up there on the stage”, one man told me after the show.
“It’s something you could do all over the world. It was lovely to see that we all have the same hopes, dreams and sadnesses” said a lady who I caught as she was leaving the theatre – and it was this that really stood out to me, because whilst it was 100% Salford it wasn’t 100% hope, or happiness, or sadness, or anything! It was a mixed bag of emotions, and as we have already learnt I really enjoy mixed bags of things.
The festival concludes tomorrow, and we’re expecting another amazing day to round off what has been a brilliant few days here at The Lowry.