Citymoves Productions’ ‘GOD (Grumpy Old Dancers)’ combines two contrasting personalities in a darkly comic exploration of grumpiness. Andy Howitt and Alan Greig are the dancers and choreographers of the work, and have extensive experience spanning many years. The funny, poignant, and self-aware piece includes interpretive dance, spoken word and other similarly grumble-worthy topics.
This performance brims with maturity and professionalism. Greig’s characterisation (often camp and light-hearted) is naturally charming, and Howitt commands presence with his darker monologues. Their distinct personalities define the tone; Howitt’s sombre speeches are undercut by Greig’s playful wit to great comic effect. Despite lacking a little of the dexterity of their youth, when the men dance together they create a fervent, hypnotising intensity which is captivating to watch. The piece displays a real sense of frustration, overlaid by an emotional and diverse soundtrack. A moment of audience participation feels incongruent with the rest of the work, but on this occasion was received very well by the crowd. You are in safe hands with Howitt and Greig, and they deliver an unusual and delightful take on aging and generally being a downright grump.
On the other end of the age spectrum, Edge Fwd’s ‘A Beautiful Hell’ is powerful, enthralling and evokes an emotional catharsis by the end. These nine young male dancers explore human relationships, with a strong contrast between collective and individual movement, presenting a fascinating look at social exclusion, loneliness and group behaviour.
It’s a struggle to peel your eyes from this intensely captivating performance. The piece bristles with tension and the dynamic routine is executed with control and strength. The content is challenging; the dancers imitate women, explore homoeroticism, and even do some cross-dressing. In a section when the group turns to the audience to laugh at them, suddenly you become that lone dancer you were watching so comfortably a moment ago. This confrontation is an unexpected an inspired moment which forces the audience to personally engage with the emotion of the piece. An impressive and thoroughly moving performance, ‘A Beautiful Hell’ will make you consider your own relationships and leave you emotionally drained and gasping for breath.