The Lady Vanishes

The Lady Vanishes is one of those shows that doesn’t fit into simple categories. Instead it takes some of the best bits of different styles and genres to form something completely different and the result is utterly beautiful and haunting.

A phenomenal, genre-defying work that deserves more than a three night run at the Fringe

Inspired by Victorian photography which seemed to reveal images of ghosts and spirits living amongst us, Dudendance have taken those images and transposed them into the Haining House and Estate in Selkirk for a site-specific dance piece that is a feast for the senses. Guided around the estate we see ghosts all around us, acting out moments from their day to day lives in slow motion with incredibly controlled movements seemingly lost in time. One stands motionless looking across the lake, another collects wood, one sits at the window reading a book – all typically banal actions that are suddenly rendered fascinating. The ten ladies never speak allowing us to project our own thoughts, ideas and speculations onto them. Are they the same woman? Did they live at the same time? What were their lives like? We’re allowed to choose and that’s part of the beauty of the piece – there’s no story to try and latch onto rather it is a pure experience of time, memory and history.

There are plenty of ghost stories performed during the Fringe but Dudendance have gone one step further by bussing the audience out to Selkirk. The grand country house, the expansive grounds, forests and lake not to mention the sensation being outside to hear the animals and experience nightfall in real time forms an integral component of the show.

There’s a noticeable sense of trepidation at the beginning in which no one in the audience really knows what we’ve let ourselves in for and part of me wonders how different the experience might be if it were experienced individually as the group mentality seems to be to clump together for safety. Nevertheless it’s a phenomenal, genre-defying work that deserves more than a three night run at the Fringe – I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

Reviews by Liam Rees

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

‘Profound and poetic’ **** (Herald). Offsite and outdoor performance installation inspired by Victorian spirit photography and belief in the afterlife. Set in a unique location in the Scottish Borders, Dudendance’s new production is a ghostlike vision with white dressed figures emerging through the landscape around Haining House and grounds. The slow meditative pace and sculptural quality of the performance unfolds like a dream around the audience who discover different views of the performers through and into the landscape. Meet in the foyer. Bus leaves outside Summerhall (approximately 60 minute journey) at 19:00 and arrives back at 22:00.

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