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MintFest

12th September 2012

Edward Taylor

 

In another mode again Tilted Production’s Seasaw was a promenade dance piece set along the riverside. It used the landscape (park, lawn and churchyard) extremely effectively and showed a theatrical ability to place the audience exactly where it wanted them to be without the audience feeling that was the case.

 

There was a series of short dances based on watery themes in different spaces over the hour or so of the show, accompanied by mobile sound systems which played recognisable pieces of music. A picnic set to the Jaws theme music where human behaviour mixed with shark behaviour, a park-keeper with an unruly rubbish bag, dancers whose limbs were lengthened and bulked up by plastic bottles, seagull/dancers sliding around a wet polythene sheet and eventually being trapped in it, a dance on an iceberg, and another dance with rubber rings.

 

If I’ve made it sound like the piece has a message which they hit you over the head with then I’ve misrepresented my main impression, which was of an imaginatively weird and expressive dance where environmentalist themes were amongst many bobbing around on the surface. There was a lovely moment where a rope was put down on the ground to stop the audience in their tracks whilst the dancers floated away from us across the lawn in rubber rings.

 

Seasaw, was just one of more than 60 performances presented at Mintfest, and, to lapse into cliché, there was something for everyone in this year’s festival. Robust and immediate street theatre in the town centre, sideshows and more technically complex shows in the park, and a variety of site-specific events as well.

 

As a performer you used to look to France or Spain for those festivals where it seemed the whole town came out to celebrate. Over the last five years this feeling has travelled successfully over the Channel and there are now more and more UK festivals which are the equal of anything on the continent. The sun was out for once, but it was MintFest that lit up Kendal over the weekend.