High energy with smiles for all, StopGAP’s SPUN Productions leaves us just that – spinning. With a quirky, mobile set and fast-moving crew, this performance is a whirlwind of colour, sound and movement in a style which will appeal to all age groups.
Part dance, part theatre, SPUN Productions follows the rise and fall of celebrity Dave, offering frantic glimpses into a startled and hyped-up world of fame. The central character is pushed and pulled, most often unwittingly, into snapshots of situations, being torn apart and thrown together in a mish-mash of the world Dave knows and of his celebrity double. With bright costumes, larger-than-life characters, these dancers injected a sense of frivolity with some noteworthy one-liners, enough to tease and educate their audience.
StopGAP are a UK company with a strong philosophy regarding integration and participation, encouraging performers with and without disabilities. To this end, the strong characterizations seamlessly blended varying attributes of the dancers, and performers strengths were shown off to great effect. Movement styles ranged from the pedestrian, to the commercial, touching on the contemporary. Dancers would jump and tumble onto and over one another, characters colliding, physically mimicking the “fading sequences” from television.
But alongside this flurry of movement, there was an emotional depth that pervaded the work, demonstrated most freely in the final duet between David Willdridge and Lucy Bennett. The conceptual flipside of the rise is ultimately the fall, and StopGAP worked with the sensitivity required of that situation, navigating toward artistic sentimentality rather than distaste.
Performed outdoors, SPUN Productions coerced the delight from a pop-up performance, promoting The Cultural Olympiad, and used the setting to their advantage. With an up close and personal view of the performers, there was no strict boundary to the “stage” and children in particular found this mesmerizing.
For a commentary on a commercial world, StopGAP offer a sensitive and playful platform to be understood by children and adults alike. If you’re looking for a fun-filled injection of dance and theatre, look no further.