I have just spent a somewhat ill-judged couple of days in a field. Fortunately, just as I was starting to drown in the mire Pif-Paf sailed to my rescue. The company had spent a few days @ A E Harris way back in November 2011 working on a show which I am sure was going to be called something else but must have eventually became Something To Hold.
The show was perfectly judged for this family festival environment. The children were instantly enchanted by two sprite-like beings who evoked the wonder of stardust. Then the music kicked in and the running and spinning started and I couldn’t help but be enchanted.
Performed without words around a large gyroscopic contraption part telescope, astrolabe and ship the piece is has a great spinning energy. The narrative is tight enough to give a dynamic sense of direction and lose enough to accommodate interpretations and diversion. As I read it a ship’s captain / navigator is charting the stars and his route, is swept around and lost in a storm, haunted by sirens / sea spirits who he wrestles. He is subsumed and beaten. He is rescued and abandoned – something like that, but it doesn’t matter. The piece is performed with verve and focus, the music drives it on and takes it places. There is a fantastic sequence with ropes becoming a bull’s head on the sailor. The piece is choreographed by Motionhouse‘s Kevin Finnan and the teaming of him and Pif-Paf seems to work extremely well. It was twenty glorious minutes in weekend mild aesthetic torment.