Insane In the Brain
Bounce Street Dance Company
Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield, and touring
Anyone over about 30 looked a bit out of place at this performance of Insane on the Brain by Bounce Street Dance Company. In spite of that it was a wonderful evening and something not to miss. This group of energetic wonderful movers filled the stage, and at times spilt out into the auditorium - fiive of them joined the audience to watch a short film of another chaotic evening, this time at a posh dinner which ended in riotous movements to music with the elegant supercilious lady of the house demonstrating what was written on her pure white knickers.
The evening was intended as a representation of the only too well known misrepresentation of a 1950s mental hospital ward, opening with a complex dance by figures in semi-darkness with faces on front and back of their heads so that as they danced it was impossible to tell whether they were looking at you or away. This 'split mind' model carried out the function of demonstrating the battle between a rebel male patient and a vicious female nurse assisted by two moronic male assistants who did nothing to help. That was the ostensible background but the wonderful dancing of all the quasi-patients and staff soon put paid to any logicality in the story. They quickly cast off their psychotic mannerisms and even the silent man in his wheel chair erupted into a powerful dance.
If anything the activities were more like the recent spate of Political Party Conferences which have filled the media. But the movement and the mime was so much better. It is difficult to describe the split second dexterity of the actions to the pattern of the music, the timing of the lighting, and the mesmeric quality of the dancing on vertical surfaces, on beds, and with a seduction high on a tower in the middle of the stage - do they ever fall off in early stages of rehearsal?
The twelve talented dancers gave truly remarkable performances and it is impossible to pick out one more than another. At the end they were praised with extraordinary cries of congratulation and just for a moment three or four figures stood in the wings smiling - I could only see two from my seat - members of the creative team who had worked so extraordinary well to entertain this appreciative audience.
Touring to Cardiff Sherman, Poole Lighthouse, Truro Hall for Cornwall, Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Coventry Warwick Arts Centre, High Wycombe Swan, Newcastle Northern Stage, Swindon Wyvern, Salford Lowry
Vera LIber reviewed this production at Sadler's Wells
Reviewer: Philip Seager