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Review: Short & Sweet

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Short & Sweet is an astounding production. The performers undeniably filled the stage with passion, humour, and skill. I was pleasantly surprised that such an odd conglomeration of short performances could be so powerful. Even more notably, the different dances complemented each other perfectly in a cocktail of charm and talent. This impressive show is not one to miss. 

As a classical ballet dancer, I sat down in the audience with a little bit of trepidation. I knew that these short dances would be different from the style of dance I was most accustomed to, and I knew that they would be shocking and peculiar. However, my fears were for nought. From the start of the show, I was easily welcomed into the world of the dancers. The first piece, ‘Two Moths in Real Time’ is a mesmerizing dance inspired by Japanese NOH plays. The two dancers, one male and one female, are dressed in surreal headpieces and softly boxy costumes. The use of natural sounds and interpretations of nature through dance was bizarrely calming. 

The second piece, ‘Vicious,’ was my favourite performance of the night. Connor Scott put on a convincing performance of Sid Vicious, the British bassist for the punk rock band Sex Pistols. Scott brought a passionate, maniacal energy to the stage. The amazing dancer was clearly well trained, and his lip-syncing was superb. This explosive piece was raunchy, entertaining, funny, sharp, and strong. 

However, ‘Finding Grace,’ the recorded performance inspired by Edith Sitwell, and ‘Ra-Ra-Raputin’ were slightly weaker. Still, all three pieces were awe-inspiring in different ways. ‘Finding Grace’ was an empowering performance dedicated to the Jamaican star Grace Jones. While the dancer for this piece was less technically talented, she exuded joy and her spoken words vibrated through the theatre. She was inspiringly earnest and authentic. 

The recorded piece on Edith Sitwell featured performers with learning disabilities. The inclusive piece was undeniably well-done and heartfelt, but it lacked a certain something. Likely, a recorded dance just could not live up to the energy of the live pieces. ‘Ra-Ra-Rasputin’ was fun with its disco lighting and the bearded lady dancer. The creative musical transition into Bonry M’s 1970’s classic was masterfully done. Although ‘Ra-Ra-Raputin’ was funny, it was a bit overly raunchy and not as strong as ‘Vicious.’ 

The last piece of the night, a creative interpretation of an imagined ‘conversation’ between John Cage and Elaine Page, was an incredible showstopper. The performance was absolutely hilarious, and I laughed out loud several times. The piece was still an incredibly talented display of dance, strength, and control with its quirky humour. The two dancers had the audience in the palms of their hands. I was captivated by the clever use of props, audio recording, suits, and beautiful golden heels. 

Overall, Short & Sweet is a small but powerful performance. The celebration of dance, joy, and inclusivity is uplifting, bizarre, and, most importantly, undeniably fun. Audience members will leave with lifted hearts, excited and revitalized. 

The show runs on Thursday 3rd February 7.30pm at The Studio, Festival Theatre, 22 Potterrow, Edinburgh, EH8 9BL

Image: Short & Sweet ©Darren Evans, Courtesy of MANIPULATE