REVIEW: Get A Clue ( The Arden School of Theatre: The Waterside Theatre, Manchester)

Get A Clue by The Arden School of Theatre, Manchester
Get A Clue by The Arden School of Theatre, Manchester

 

Upstaged Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Get A Clue is the latest performance piece produced and performed by the third year BA (Hons) Dance and Performance students at The Arden Theatre School. The whole hour-long piece has been choreographed in just four weeks as a collaboration with international choreographer and dance storyteller, Cindy Claes.

Armed with detective style magnifying glasses, realms of unsolved case papers and a lifetime supply of paperclips, the talented ensemble present an alternative perspective on the life of a crime-solving detective. Fusing spoken word with hip-hop, dancehall and contemporary dance, the performers fill the space with energy and a good dose of wit as they showcase their skills.

The performance commences with our lead detective and her portfolio of unsolved cases – in a beautifully stylised and rhythmical sequence each file is presented to her. Uttering the subject of each case, the dancers slam each heavy pile of papers down in front of the detective. My only qualm is that this opening section may have been stronger if it had taken place in the middle of the stage.

Slowly, our detective feels the pressure of her increasingly heavy workload – she appears to become more concerned with the way that her papers are held together, than with the actual content of each case. Will she ever find her missing papers clips? Are her deceptive colleagues hiding the paper clips from her?

Paper fills the stage as it is thrown around in a display of disorganisation and madness creating a visual display of unease and chaos. Our dishevelled detective lies sprawled on the floor in the centre. Beautifully simple but powerful imagery.

There are some delightful sequences when the whole company is on stage together. The line-up was a highlight for me – simple choreography and clever storytelling by the ensemble. There is also some entertaining slapstick storytelling as two of the detective’s assistants quarrel over a chair. Each facial expression by the cast further adds to the narrative.

A dance off between our lead detective and a rival detective was particularly pleasing – confined to the simple ‘click’ – how far could these two take this basic movement to appear better than the other? Georgina Thompstone certainly shines as being a capable dancer and skilled storyteller.

This was a wonderfully entertaining showcase from a group of highly talented young dancers, who have a very bright future ahead of them. Well done!

-Kristy Stott

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