Hull Literature Festival 2001 8th - 18th November
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or The Historic Adventures of the Caped Crusader and a High Velocity Minx
Ferens Live Art Space
9 November 2001

Reviewer: Dr Haris Livas

Dr Livas has reviewed for DanceMagazine (USA), Ballett International (Germany), Taneci Listy (Czech Republic) and is link corporation member for Performing Arts, Wyke College.

Shades of Nietzsche and Freddie Mercury. A tip of the hat to 50's crooning and Oriental wailing. A spoof of what we imagine our comic book heroes to be. Ah yes, they do have feet of clay and when flexing their muscles, also take care to sniff their underarms for that dreaded BO! The LEAP dance performance for Humber Mouth featured the company's two professional dancers, Charlotte Bhuyan and Mark Pearce. The commission provided the opportunity to work with choreographer Heather Regis Duncan and designer Jayne Cooper and to start the process of developing a performance that is not specifically for the school audiences which are the focus for most of LEAP's work.

Duncan worked with company leader Bhuyan and assistant leader Pearce for four days and the two dancers had to flesh out the rest of 'I Love You Brad' for themselves. The constraints of time and money were unfortunate as the dance is still in its raw stages - very much a work-in-progress.

As this is a story dance the first thing that needs to work is the story line. It seems to be divided into two very disparate parts, the first featuring Superman and the second Superwoman (at least in terms of physical attributes!). The first part had the two flashing comic book bubbles at the audience; this device was missing in the second part. The first features mainly the hero (Captain Broadback, Superman, or, in real terms, Mark Pearce) and it would have been better to have less posturing and more dancing. What dance there was was good, and there was even a hint of romance between the human hero (as opposed to the superhuman) and Little Miss Goodie-Goodie as portrayed by Bhuyan, but this needs more development.

The second part features the High Velocity Minx, but there's very little interplay between the two dancers and this seems mainly a vehicle for Bhuyan to show her skills as the first part was a vehicle for Pearce. These two parts need to be better co-ordinated; the link between them needs to be tightened or they need separating completely, depending on how they want to play it. And this kind of dance, like a good book, must have a beginning, middle and end. The story line was too diffuse and the dance had no end - it just stopped.

What has to happen is that the dance becomes a coherent whole. The idea is good, but it needs much work, which means more time and money. The performers themselves were excellent, with good technical skills. Their costumes (Jayne Cooper) were good (especially the Minx's) and the music (recorded by Adrian Rowbotham) was perfect for its purpose. It's the vehicle that needs further development.

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