Review by Peter Blennerhassett
Have you ever enjoyed watching street dancing? Then Human Collective’s Fable, Choreographed by Matt Szczerek, written by Liam McCarthy and directed by Cathy Coughlan, is for you. I can confidently give that simple statement because Fable presents the audience with a varied and mixed bag to enjoy. The show offers up five short chapters in its hour long runtime that have distinct styles, tones, stories and characters. I found this format really refreshing for a dance performance as very often they can have bloated runtimes and rely too heavily on repetition. Fable combats this with keeping each piece short and sweet. Each chapter has an idea to present, presents it and finishes while the going is good. Rinse and repeat. If a particular chapter doesn’t hit the mark for you, then there’s always the four others.
The narratives presented revolve around dark subjects such as political conspiracy, murder, captivity, man-made disaster and loneliness. The world and atmosphere of each chapter are quickly and expertly established with costume (by Tobi Balogun), lighting (by Eoin Lennon), sound design (by Grzegorz Szczerek) and by the physicality of the performers. The four dancers (Matt Szczerek, Tobi Balogun, Leon Dwyer and Christian Dirocie) give stellar performances, each filling the large open area of the Project Arts main space with pure confidence and ease. They all are given a chance to show their undoubted individual dancing ability through the chapters.
The hour duration of Fable flew by and I could have quite happily sat through another five chapters. The Human Collective is truly a special group of individuals whose future work should be watched with interest.