For Now We See/ Moot Moot

CCA & School of Art, Glasgow

Mary Brennan, four stars

TWO risk-taking performances reinforce the value of this current Take Me Somewhere season. For Now We See Through a Mirror, Darkly - Ultimate Dancer’s new piece – sees director/choreographer Louise Ahl yet again balancing provocatively on the cusp between sly spoof and an uplifting quest for images and rituals that can give meaningful expression to existence. Against a backcloth that is reminiscent of the Golden Dawn’s iconography, three figures in black tunics and head-hugging bonnets enact phases – Dry, Cool, Moist, Hot – that tie the medieval ‘humours’ of the body to the shifting energies of the cosmos.

It’s charged with the alchemy of Dr Dee, the mystical colours of Steiner, the dark, cabalistic leanings of Crowley and his associates – an amalgam that produces much antic posturing, hummings and yowlings, while an (unseen) voice narrates/describes the details of what’s happening on-stage. That voice will actually refer to ‘mumbo-jumbo’ – a clue to Ahl’s own astute awareness of how belief systems can swither on the verge of the ridiculous. So yes, there are risible moments but there is also a serious, poetic – albeit cryptic - attempt to focus on both the physical and metaphysical dying of the light that sustains us.

If that prospect worries you, then ‘Get in Touch!’ with the Barry and Barry Show – the slick-suited, fast-talking Barries (Rosana Cade and Eilidh MacAskill) are desperate for you to phone in with... well anything, to fill up the void of obvious indifference that sends them into melt-down in Moot Moot.

If the rapid ping-ponging back and forth of listener-hungry phrases is consummately timed and hilarious, then the clown-ish contortions on their (matching) office chairs is ingenious and hysterically funny. The joke, however, develops a mordantly hollow ring: as the jingles escalate into white noise, the Barries are left talking to themselves. Sharp, smart and seriously entertaining.