Fringe 2016: Into The Water

Into the Water opens with Suzanne Cleary and Peter Harding wearing bear heads and lying on the floor. The stage is filled with childish toys. Not before long the play is begun, not with words, but a  heavy reliance on sound and theatricality. It blends beautiful lighting with imaginative and childlike characters who are hugely impressive dancers.

The play brilliantly blends and winds pieces together, and showing the pure beauty of their childlike performances. A simple delight, Into the Water leaves you gob-smacked to see all these theatrical elements so finely and beautifully melded together. The washing-line-cum-lighting rig is particularly well-utilised. The percussive choreography in this piece pays homage to the pair’s Irish dancing background but is also a real throwback to the old-school tap-dancing musical scene of the 1950s. Up & Over It do hand-dancing like no one else. Though Into the Water is only an hour long, it really does transport you into another world; we are captivated by images straight out of a children’s book.

The interactions between lighting and dance are incredibly smart. Props are kept minimal but evocative. Into the Water is not an overly complex piece, but the work and rehearsals that went into its development are evident. It shows that with time and skill, and keeping it fun, theatre can take you into another world, a childlike one full of imagination and wonder. A real combination of theatre, music, dance and atmospheric lighting which makes this production a pure pleasure to watch. Up & Over It are a class act, giving us a great taste of pleasure and a real reward for both young and old to see. Into the Water offers pure imagination at its best. This play shows how effective keeping it simple can be in theatre.

Michael Noonan

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