We Are Ian

It’s difficult trying to describe We Are Ian. There are three women in white overalls onstage with their hair scrunched up and their faces almost always in states of fear and bewilderment. Then there’s a light bulb that starts talking and a screen emanating images and text. The light bulb is Ian, who says that we’ve lost the spirit of the ‘90s rave parties. That 2016 has no youth movement like there was before. So Ian wants to bring back that feeling; kicking it into life with these possibly mind-controlled women as they dance to bass beat music and lip-sing in front of images from the ‘80s and present day. And eat biscuits. And hug audience members. Did I mention that there was a talking light bulb?

Despite all the weirdness, I can’t walk away from this show, which is so unique and so well-done, without giving it a recommendation.

It’s safe to say that We Are Ian is weird. It begins with the words “We Are Ian” flashing on and off on the screen with shoes with lights on them bouncing up and down on the sides of the stage. Then Ian starts ‘talking’, mumbling away about how cool the ‘80s were and how government ruined everything, but they kept partying regardless. The music is classic bass beats, with phrases like “hallelujah” and “we are Ian” looping over and over. Then they start being amazed by biscuits. It is fun though, We Are Ian using its surreality for some very funny set-pieces. The choreography of the dancers is fantastic, with lighting and the flashing screen behind them well-directed and funny. Even the acting of the three people on stage was brilliant, giving an impression of being robots or mind-controlled characters in some way. We Are Ian is a cleverly and creatively designed show in service of… something. I’ll let you decide what that actually is.

I do wonder if I should give this five stars. Not because the show isn’t good, but rather because the show is weird. I had a lot of fun, and so did the audience. It was cool, funny and brilliantly choreographed. But at the same time I have to acknowledge the fact that it probably isn’t to everyone’s tastes, including amongst the age group We Are Ian looks towards. And if you aren’t 20-25, I can’t speak for how you’d react to people orgasming at the idea of eating biscuits. But if you are in your twenties, have had a few drinks and are looking for a show at 11pm, then you’ll enjoy this mad rave party. Despite all the weirdness, I can’t walk away from this show, which is so unique and so well-done, without giving it a recommendation. You won’t see anything else like it at the Edinburgh Festival (or possibly anywhere else).

Reviews by Euan Brook

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

1989. Manchester. A frenzy of drugs, beats and bucket hats. Illegal raves. Acid parties. Just jumping up and down in a field and throwing two fingers to Thatcher… Remember it? Because we don’t. We weren’t even born. But Ian was. And Ian does remember. We’ve got fuck all now (Ian tells us). So, we’re going back to 1989. We’re gonna neck a brown biscuit. We’re gonna get off our peanuts. We’re gonna bounce around like idiots. And Ian’s going to show us how. We’re mad fer it. And you will be too. Let’s party.

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