Review by Nicole Kelly
Assisted Solo is a strikingly poignant piece of theatre, that explores and celebrates identity – what it means to exist, and how in society we ‘assist’ one another in life – through the means of dance.
The performance commences as three amazing dancers Philip Connaughton, Magali Caillet-Gajan and Lucia Kickham make their way onto the stage space, drawing the draperies to the side as the lights hanging overhead are brought to life. Through succinct movements they each slowly make their way towards the audience, moving of their own harmony, ensnared in their own individual movements. Each dancer represents a time, a place in life, and memories from lives both past and present. Although they are dancing in the same space, they are individuals who are completely oblivious to the existence of the other players in their midst – three solos performed at once. These solos are coloured and shaped by a depiction of a tender relationship between a mother and her son, combined with the endless tear-jerking frustrations of how one can but cope when the dynamics of such a relationship change entirely.
This performance piece also has another presence, it is Madeleine, Philip’s mother, who suffers from advanced dementia. Madeline’s essence has been captured on film and projected on screen by Luca Truffarelli (Videography & Sound Design) at regular interludes in such a moving way, that it will shake the audience at its core. It is this projection, along with stories from Philip which break up the dance pieces that consents for a touching story to arise of how dementia brings about a role reversal between a child and their parent but at its heart there will always be a profound love between a mother and son.