• Tue. Jul 16th, 2024

Back of the Bus review

ByMiranda Garralda-Wong

Aug 22, 2019

Back of The Bus is simultaneously everything and nothing like you would expect. 

Choreographed and performed by the Java Dance Theatre from New Zealand, Back of The Bus bravely toys with what society envisions as ‘the performing stage’, to make room for a novel and more mobile kind of stage – that of a city bus. Having previously realised similar performances in other global cities, like Seoul, Shanghai and Adelaide, Back of The Bus demonstrate an awareness of city-tourism and of the perfect opportunity to show tourists and visitors both popular and more unknown sides of the city.

This one-of-a-kind performance is not limited to visitors, though, as it questions the behavioural normalcy of daily life. The performers invite the audience to let go and join in with the dance as they execute ordinary tasks such as walking to a store or wandering through the Meadows; they invite the audience to forget about how passers-by may perceive them. The audience reaches a state of calm and immense wonder, able to place their trust and expectations in the hands of the dance group.

The seeming lack of storyline and explanation behind the intervals of dance, however, are a slight shortcoming. The dances are tied together with an underlying theme, which is that of transportation and its role in our day-to-day lives. Nevertheless, beyond the momentary acting between dances, much is left unexplored in the full hour of frolicking around.

That being said, dance performances are open to the subjectivity of its audience. The lack of guidance can conversely be deemed more engaging for an international audience, as dance is in itself its own form of language. A deeper meaning is not always required –  even if it is sometimes preferred – and the awkwardness of a musical-like universe where performers dance out of the blue is sometimes what’s needed to remind hardworking modern-day folk to relax and laugh at how odd life is.

Back of The Bus is an entirely unpredictable and innovative way to experience the air of the local city, its shops, and its outdoors. A completely immersive experience, there is no show in the Fringe like it.


Back of the Bus meets at George Square Gardens (Venue 3)

At 17:30 and 19:15 until the 25th August

Book tickets here


Image: Tim Whittaker


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