Hardly Still Walking, Not Yet Flying

With elements that could have made it great, Hardly Still Walking, Not Yet Flying was sadly let down by others that weren’t quite up to par. Beginning on a positive, the singer had a beautifully delicate voice and their use of a loop pedal was impressive, framing the piece nicely. The performers were engaging, if a little intense at times, but this mirrored the intensity of their show.

it was as though someone had asked a group of drama students to make the most “avant-garde” play they could come up with

Onto the negative. To give an accurate description of the performance, it was as though someone had asked a group of drama students to make the most “avant-garde” play they could come up with. Unfortunately, this included everything. There were philosophical references, dramatic stage dives, rolling cigarettes and rearrangements of Nirvana songs. Taken individually, these ingredients could have provided a good performance, but used all at once, they had definitely over-egged the pudding.

What started out as a consideration of the sublime, owing a debt to Edmund Burke, soon became lost in the didactic witterings about the difference between truth and belief and its effect on social organisation. If they had stripped it back and just presented us with their metaphors of the sublime it would have worked beautifully, and elements did.

The collection of bright white chairs on stage was used innovatively and to great effect. Starting as a sculptural centrepiece, they soon glided around the stage with them, stacking and unstacking as the moment dictated. It showed that a great deal of effort had gone into preparing this performance; movements were swift and their lines were delivered with the same efficiency throughout.

The introduction of the male characters marked the downward turn of the show, not the performers per se, but this is when it all began to get a little lost. One of the wild-eyed performers wailed, at an almost consistent level, and his dramatic movements distracted attention from the other performers. Welcome breaks from the mayhem arrived when the singing commenced and there was a particularly poignant moment in the penultimate song where the performers slowed down as if floating through water.

The effort ploughed into this piece was impressive and, whilst everyone on stage could perform, they would have benefited from better direction to not appear so amateur. They had some interesting ideas and switching between German and English added another layer to the piece. However it was far too complex for an hour-long show and would have been better if they had just stripped it back to basics.

Reviews by Bethan Troakes

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The Blurb

Ever wanted to be more than just a victim of gravity? With verbal percussion, eloquent bodies and original live music, Germany’s celebrated Port in Air takes a disturbing new look at the sublime.