Dendritical

At the heart of Dendritical, the latest performance art piece by Christy Ann Brown, lies a contradiction. It is in many respects unpolished, confused and at points bordering on self-parody. And yet, against all the odds, it manages to be consistently engaging, without a dull moment in its 45 minute running time.

Dendritical achieves something that is surprisingly rare for a Fringe show - it holds the audience’s attention from start to finish.

It’s hard to describe exactly what is about. Christy Ann describes it as ‘an intermedia event in spoken text, movement, and video’, but this still reveals very little about the performance. Rather, it takes the form of a rambling monologue, touching on topics such as art, philosophy and psychology, but lingering mostly on Christy Ann’s own concerns, whether they be sexual, emotional or spiritual. This monologue is combined with movement, dance sections and projected video.

When Brown is speaking, the show is at its best. Though some of her language is woefully hammy - she describes sleeping with her lover as “leaping into the blue ocean of his retina” - it has a certain allure. She is so earnest, so clearly believes in what she is saying, that you cannot help but begin to buy into her world view. In particular, her quasi-philosophical musings at the beginning were genuinely interesting, raising questions of personal identity and the nature of art in a unique way.

Nevertheless, however engaging her monologue is, it is frequently spoiled by Christy Ann’s cringe-inducing dancing. It is important for any performer to know their limits, and in this case, Christy Ann has a lot to learn. For a start, if you are incapable of, say, balancing on one leg, or doing a backwards roll, you shouldn’t attempt it. Further, some of the dancing moves beyond inadequacy and into ridiculousness - one particularly awkward simulated sex scene left me squirming in my seat.

The projection is at best unnecessary, and at worse positively distracting. A camerawoman is constantly onstage, filming Christy Ann and projecting a live stream of the footage to a large screen at the back of stage. Whilst occasionally effective, this is more often distracting, as Christy Ann walks in front of the projector, goes out of focus or gets too close to the camera for the audience to see anything.

Despite these major flaws (and they are major), Dendritical achieves something that is surprisingly rare for a Fringe show - it holds the audience’s attention from start to finish, and for that it should be commended.

Reviews by Mark Danciger

The Stand Comedy Club 5 & 6

John Robertson: Let’s Redecorate!

★★★
Thistle King James Hotel

Wild at Heart

★★★★★
Basic Mountain

Gruesome Playground Injuries

★★★★
New Town Theatre

Macbeth

★★★★
C venues - C

The Comedy of Errors

★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

ChristyAnn Brown explores the heart of all things in Dendritical, come have a heart-to-heart. An intermedia event in spoken text, movement, and video.

Most Popular See More

Hairspray

From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Come From Away

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Heathers The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £45.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Everybody's Talking About Jamie

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets