In the pre-show talk, artistic co-director Ben Wright told us that Candoco will soon be thirty years old, so I am bit late as this is the first time I’ve seen them. Better late than never!
Yasmeen Godder’s Face In began on a white stage with coloured stripey lighting. The dancers were in multi-coloured sports-wear which gave it a street-wise look. Movement was very contemporary dance, like they were colours on a canvas. There were some great shadows but I thought it needed more visual glue, something to bring it together. The music was varied; high pitched drones, an indie track and then a 1950’s tune which seemed out of place.
All the dancers were good and watchable but no-one stood out in terms of charisma. It was more of an ensemble.
It felt to me like West Street Brighton on a Saturday night, people having a good time, making relationships, being playful. Ben Wright said it was “like a psychedelic ex-ray of your consciousness” but I didn’t get that. I enjoyed watching it but it didn’t bust my giggles.
Hetain Patel’s We Need To Talk About ‘Dis was very different.
There was a clear stage picture. A dancer talked about Candoco being an integrated contemporary dance company and another one performed the words. It was all about translation, French, English, British Sign Language. At times it was laugh out loud funny, and rude too. I know those BSL gestures! The lighting was strong and gave it a structure. It made me feel happy, I liked the games they were playing and I got the message.
Both pieces had captions which were really helpful and the visual story that Candoco sent in advance was great. Some people are more visual than others so it was good to have the pictures and description. They mix the disabled dancers and non-disabled dancers very well, using the different body shapes in a bold way. I would love to see a learning-disabled dancer on the stage with them one day.
By Sarah Watson