And Now...

Paisley Arts Centre

Mary Brennan


AND Now... sees Frank McConnell’s plan B return to the touring circuit, recent off-road years given over to establishing a permanent full-time company and upgrading their Ross-shire base. Inspiration and ideas weren’t lying dormant, however and the energetic debates over Scottish independence in 2014 followed McConnell and his dancers into the studio: the result is a playful, perceptive and thought-provoking piece that explores identity and aspirations through the learning curves of four gung-ho children.

Make that five – whimsical musician Steve Kettley is also on-stage, overlaying Jim Sutherland’s recorded soundscore with vibrant flute and saxophone textures while adding his own “when I grow up...” ambitions to the general mix.

If, at first, the movement seems a skittish nod in the direction of child’s play – merry fun with the little toys and the variously sized chairs on Miranda Melville’s set – there is a shift in mood and choreography when Kirsty Pollock speaks of a childhood moment, standing on a fore-shore, when time stood still. The words catch at the inner wonderment, the subsequent dance, with Pollock soaring and lithe in duets full of high lifts, is a lyrical echo of that fathomless feeling. Joanne Pirrie and Katie Armstrong share a giggling-girly game of sitting-down tag, jolly fun until Pirrie recoils:the hands-on touching is no longer welcome – growing up has brought sexuality into play.

The lone chap, Glen McCartney, gets to be the bossy boy but his scaling of the one giant chair leads to a solo that tingles with the curiosity, the uncertainty, the risk-taking that goes with stepping out, into your future. McConnell’s heart and craft are in the details here, with his unstinting dancers delivering shed-loads of technique and personality

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