In Rhythms: an urbanly cool Kilkenny Arts Festival performance

Review: Loosysmokes’ dance show feels at once nostalgic for the past and portentous of the future

In Rhythms

The Warehouse, Callan

A figure with a TV instead of a head is our guide into the world of In Rhythms, an atmospheric and impressionistic performance from Loosysmokes. Shuffling into the loosely defined office area of a vast warehouse space, the half-human character plugs itself in and starts to perform his daily routine of manual hole-punching, as an electronic soundtrack of grime and techno by Oli Ryan throbs in the walls. It is an intriguing scene of industry that feels at once nostalgic for the past and portentous of the future.

Despite the reappearance of the analogue creature at various points throughout the performance, these pregnant short scenes are only allusively connected to the trick-based focus of In Rhythms, which elsewhere follows a more straightforward circus structure. An aerialist wrestles her way out of a high-hung amoebic sac. A quartet of acrobats climb and slide on poles, slip in and out of moving ladders, and dance. A young woman turns a rope into a perilous roof-skimming swing. The cavernous warehouse space is kept deliberately dim by design collaborators Jonah McGreevy, Elaine Mc Cague, Conor Mc Cague, Craig Cox, Olga Kuzmenko and Millie Egan, and this can work to the advantage of the performers as they move stealthily through the space, disappearing and reappearing in the darkness, like balletic burglars engaged in a dangerous heist. However, it also makes it difficult to see where among the many shadows we should turn our attention.

There is considerable skill and chutzpah on show, and a palpable confidence and trust among the ensemble, which features Imogen Macrae, Jonah McGreevy, Elaine Mc Cague, Michelle Thoburn, Conor McCague, Emily Kilkenny Roddy, and Angelique Ross. Technically it is impressive, aesthetically it is urbanly cool, but this is not enough to sustain the show’s momentum, or our attention, for the duration of the 50-minute show.

Sara Keating

Sara Keating

Sara Keating, a contributor to The Irish Times, is an arts and features writer