Ticketmaster Summer in Stages

The Band

Eleni Edipidi & Nathan Johnston
Levantes Dance Theatre
Media Factory, Uclan, Preston

Eleni Edipidi and Nathan Johnston in The Band Credit: Foteini Christofilopoulou

Sandy and Bruno were one-hit wonders from the sequinned '70s. Now they are a faded double act; doomed to repeat the same stage moves; anxious should the 'phone bring their next big break; and meantime noiselessly bickering with each other.

That’s the simple set-up for Levantes Dance Theatre’s physical theatre show. But behind it all lies a deeply-skilled combination of circus skills and silent comedy, even a little conjuring, puppetry, animation or just silly walks.

About as much theatrecraft as you could possibly fit, or reasonably expect, in one of the Media Factory’s blackbox spaces, and the perfect intimate setting for such theatrical close-up magic, hosted by the city’s Derelict arts programme and Uclan Dance.

Performers Eleni Edipidi and Nathan Johnston exploit their Laurel and Hardy size disparity to the full in a delightfully daft and exquisitely deft one-hour masterclass of minimalism. The timing and technique is a joy, and the similarity to companies like Ockham’s Razor, Punchdrunk and many other continental theatre groups is easily apparent.

The pair execute aerial hoop skills high above the stage, or down-to-earth comedy invention with a modest amount of props. It’s all performed to a soundscape of pop, country and ballads and in its closing moments quite literally achieves the perfect balancing act between story and circus skill.

All warmly appreciated by a near-capacity audience. If there were any performing arts students amongst them they will have glimpsed the infinite possibilities of their craft—and especially the equally boundless energy and skill demanded.

Reviewer: David Upton