Brighton Fringe Presents Contrasts
Venue: Friends’ Meeting House
When: Thursday 24th May
Combining live speech and music with expressive movement and dance, performance art collective, Eurythmy West Midlands, brings to life folk tales, poems, and classical music pieces. Together with a pianist, a cellist and a speech artist, Contrasts unites the talents of six performing artists from five different countries – England, Germany, Japan, Mexico and Slovakia.
Brighton’s Friends’ Meeting House was the second stop on the troupe’s 2012 tour. This evening’s hour-long show comprised 15 sections of varying lengths, leading the audience on an enjoyable journey from the witty to the wonderful.
With colourful, timeless costumes and simple stage lighting, the entire performance was evocative of another era, and after learning that the art of eurythmy was introduced in the early 20th century, it made sense why the show had a 1920s feel about it.
Narrated by speech artist, Geoffrey Norris, the programme was very much propelled by his vocal delivery, which was second to none. His theatrical performance had the audience engaged from his first reading: a Haitian folk tale, ‘Monkey and Papa God’. The humorous story, which tells of a monkey who misunderstands something he overhears, was beautifully played out. The combination of music, words, and physical interpretation reminded me of a children’s bedtime story brought to life.
The poetry and prose alternated between the sublime and the nonsensical, as in the piece, ‘Tiddlee-Wink and Tiddlee-Wee’. The floaty, iridescent costumes and fluid movements adopted by the two artists were particularly effective in expressing this quirky tale of sub-aquatic sibling rivalry.
Completing the show was an interpretation of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 17, which united all six artists on stage for the first time. The music, though enjoyable, had thus far been somewhat sparse and abstract, so it was nice to hear a more melodic, warmer piece. The performance was well choreographed, with the artists’ movements reflecting the nature of the classical composition, which has the feel of a growing storm.
Contrasts will be heading to a number of UK schools, colleges and arts festivals throughout June and July.