Flare (1) – Martin Harris Centre

Flare Festival arrives in Manchester for the week.  ‘Flare is about bringing to the city some of the best and most distinctive cutting edge theatre by new artists from across this country, the rest of Europe and beyond’ (Artistic Director, Neil Mackenzie).  The programme is ‘curated’, which suggests both a selection process and ‘acknowledges the theatrical performance piece as  work of art’.  Part of the programme is ‘Future Flares’, a showcase for emerging talent.

These performances are at the Martin Harris Centre, part of the University of Manchester and home to the forthcoming 24:7 Festival.  Another gem of a performance space in Manchester, perfect for small/medium scale productions.

The Circulation Game from Ashley Williams (UK) combines a monologue with powerpoint images to illustrate the challenges of growing up today.  Great pace, interesting text, and a visual story that echoes the words, this piece retains the attention more than any work presentation ever could.

Whoaaa Steady! by Leentje van de Cruys and University of Salford (BE/UK) is the opposite.  So polarising that at the end of the show all the audience ‘votes’ were either ‘good’ or ‘bad’; none were ‘OK’.   Deeply rooted in Western European mime, this performance from five women dressed with horse tails and two men with briefs, included oranges, silver hair, hobby horses and carrots.  It’s about horses and those that watch them (definitely), men and women (probably), and sexual relationships (possibly).  Surreal, often funny, this is a performance you won’t forget.

A fascinating afternoon watching work from UK students.  Next up, the evening triple bill.

Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

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