Fringe Review: Skip

by Jane

One Point 618 is a local dance theatre company, creating work for both adult and young audiences. Skip forms part of their educational program – a short dance work for young children directed by Katrina Lazaroff based around two friends (Rebecca Bainger and Emma Stokes) who, while out playing, come across a field of sneakers which seem to have magical powers.

As they leap from pair to pair, the friends find themselves taken over by the shoes, and act in a way that perhaps they didn’t expect. From shoes that make them dance, to shoes that make them feel like their feet are on fire, to shoes that make them sing, the couple run around the stage making all manner of fun.

A logical role of the shoes (as logical as one can be with anything expressing some sort of magic) is never completely firmed down. At times the same shoes seem to convey different dance styles in the wearer; the power balance between the shoes and the dancers is variable; sometimes the same shoes are used in different roles. But perhaps this picking on Skip for some confused logic is being persnickety, for the role of this work is not to explore the power of footwear, but to revel in the fun of dance.

The young, early Sunday morning audience was somewhat restless; with a few of the children more happy to create their own dances from the bleachers than to really engage with the work. But then, this is some of the joy of dance work made for such a young audience: the want to dance and engage through Callan Fleming’s music is just as valid a response as concentration on the narrative. Members of the crowd were only too happy to join in when it came time for audience participation: “who can help me take my shoes off?” was answered by a very eager and earnest three-year-old running on to stage “I can!”

Some aspects of the show pointed to a work which had not yet been entirely workshopped with a children’s audience in mind: when the two characters first talk about ‘a skip’, one says “I thought a Skip was a kangaroo” – a reference perhaps more suited for the grandparents of the young audience members, and certainly even took me more than a few beats to understand. For young children, the most logical definition of the word skip is in the context it is used within this work: skipping and dancing.

Dancers Stokes and Rebecca Bainger carry the forty-five minute work with ease. Lazaroff’s work is primarily contemporary dance based, with some hip-hop elements, but the contemporary work is both more interesting and carried by the performers with more skill. The high energy partner work, filled with leaps, kicks, and some moments of pure silliness held the most attention from the audience: while the show is held together by the loose narrative, when it is purely about the dance the work is more engaging as the young people are excited by the possibilities of how music can be interoperated, and how bodies can move within a space.

Every aspect of the production is embedded with colour: from the dozens of shoes in bright reds, yellows, blues, and greens, to the bright primary colours of the performers costumes. This colour bursts with the joy of the production, of having fun with the discovery of new magic adventures in the shoes, and with the joy of dance and music.  Of a new pair of shoes, and greeting the day with a skip.

One Point 618 presents Skip, directed by Katrina Lazaroff.  Sound score Callan Fleming; Theatre Consultants Ninian Donald, Richard Seidel, Carol Wellman Kelly & Ross Ganf; Graffiti Art Set Design Seb Humphreys; Set Design: Richard Seidel. With Rebecca Bainger and Emma Stokes. At AC Arts’ The Stables for the Adelaide Fringe. Season closed.