Breathing Irregular

Gate, Notting Hill

Production photo

Breathing Irregular is a short but at times incredibly powerful piece that fuses dance with transcripts from both sides of 999 calls.

Of the half dozen scenarios re-enacted, at least a couple are capable of leaving viewers on the edges of their seats, desperate to know the life and death outcome of the emergency call.

One quickly gets an impression of the calm heroism of those who man telephones for the emergency ambulance and fire services.

Helping a five year old whose mother is unconscious and bleeding or a man whose neighbour has lost an arm is something special and the company manage to take the tension to terrifying heights.

Each of the four cast members both dance and act, with Bryony Hanna and Brendan Hughes taking the acting honours thanks to their versatility and ability to convey raw emotion. They are joined by Éva Magyar and the sinuous dance of Temitope Ajose-Cutting

The stories are both broken and enhanced by Jane Mason's choreography, which is intended to speak to the narrative and at its best does so, particularly in a haunting image of a young mother with asthma who had been trapped in a blazing house with her toddler.

Carrie Cracknell keeps the performers in ethereal semi-darkness with help from her lighting designer, Lucy Carter. This lends a degree of the exotic to an unusual 50 minutes that will linger long in the memory, primarily for its simple storytelling.

Reviewer: Philip Fisher

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