Holidays !!!

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THE MUMBLE TEAM

Are taking their annual Festive Break

SEE YOU ALL IN THE NEW YEAR 

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An Interview with Kevin Quantum

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This Christmas, the Edinburgh International Magic Festival will be returning for a four-night run. In the lead-up to that wonderful event, The Mumble will be chatting to some of the performers, starting with the irrepressible talent that is Kevin Quantum.


Hello Kevin, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
I’m in Edinburgh, near the Botanic Gardens. Lovely part of the world.

When did you first realise you were, well, magical?
After being on a reality TV show. I was a physicist up until 12 years ago. Then I was plucked from obscurity to go on C4’s Faking It and found I had not just an aptitude but a love for being on stage. So I ceased the PhD and became a magician. Needless to say mummy was surprised.

You are a Guinness World Record Breaker, can you tell us about it?
Sure, like most of my work it was a collaboration, this time between myself and Royal Blind Charity here in Edinburgh. We brought 2000+ people together and I taught them a magic trick. The biggest magic lesson ever! It was so surreal.

You’ve recently gone down well at the Adelaide Fringe. Can you tell us about the experience?
What a blast! I loved Adelaide. A wonderful city. I made friends and won awards and had sell out crowds. Kinda the perfect overseas tour. I’m not really one for the city-city tour circuit. It’s pretty tough moving every day somewhere new, so when a festival opportunity arrises then I’m well up for it. Edinburgh and Adelaide have lots in common, they both come alive during the fringe. I felt right at home.

What does Kevin Quantum like to do when he’s not being, well, magical?
I play in a tennis league, I compose music for guitar and bass, I spend time with my family. My daughter is 4 now and I love spending time with her. I have a huge family (mum is one of 9 kids and dad is one of 7 so lots of cousins, uncles, aunts etc ) and I’m one of 4 kids myself. We’re close and I really take the time to spend time with them. I love them all.

You are coming to Edinburgh this winter to perform at the International Christmas Special. Your show utilises visual magic with modern technology and unique inventions, what’s the backstory?
It comes from the Faking It show. I was a physicist before becoming a magician and recently I’ve realised they have a bit of a cross over. I just try and find some cool science and eek the magic our of it. Or take a cool magic trick and frame it with science.

You know a good show when its happened, what are the special ingredients?
From the performer’s side, there are three things. 1) attention to detail. 2) Rehearsal. 3) Heart.

Will you be catching any other magicians over the festive period?
I don’t know if there are any other magic shows on in Edinburgh over the festive period? Morgan And West were here last year and I spent a bit of time with them. Great guys.

What does the rest of 2017 hold in store for Kevin Quantum?
I’m doing my first full evening show in London. Can’t wait for that. Off to Alicante, Moscow and a top secret project I can’t talk about. It’s not ‘strictly’ but I wish it was. The rest of the time prep for MagicFest xmas, and my 2018 tour to Australia. It’s two months this time and I’m going to Perth too. Bring it on!

An Interview with Thomas Small

In two weeks time, an internationally-acclaimed piece of physical theatre shall be hitting East Lothian. The Mumble managed to catch a few words with multi-award winning choreographer, Thomas Small.


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Hello Thomas, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
I am born and bred in Dundee, a pure Dundonian through and through. At this very moment, I am in Ibiza enjoying my holidays after a very busy Summer term.

When did you first realise you you could dance?
I realised I wanted to direct productions early on when I was about 13 years old and I used to boss my friends around to create shows. Then contemporary dance really got into me and I decided to study it to become a professional. Still, my interest was not in performance but in choreography and direction.

Where did you study the art of dancing & how did it go?
I was very fortunate to receive local support to study in one of the world leading institutions, the London Contemporary Dance School, The Place, where I studied under the tutelage of leading experts from all corners of the world.

What does Thomas Small like to do when he’s not involved in dancing?
I love walking my dog Molly, meeting friends for cocktails and karaoke, and just lately I am getting the exercise bug with my personal trainer.

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Can you tell us about Shaper/Caper?
Shaper/Caper is a charity based in Dundee. The company makes dance-theatre productions that tour nationally and internationally, as well as delivering an impressive creative learning portfolio, with just one of our projects reaching 7,000 primary school children per year in Tayside. We work with people of all ages and abilities, from babies to 101 years old (our oldest dancer, so far!) and are known for our site-specific and mass participation work. We are lucky to have robust and long-lasting partnerships with organisations such as NHS Tayside and the McManus: Dundee’s Art and Gallery Museum. We are also regularly supported by Creative Scotland, CashBack for Creativity, and Leisure and Culture Dundee, through the Dundee Dance Partnership.

Can you describe your creative relationship with Clore Fellow?
Creative Scotland supported my attendance to the full Clore Fellowship programme, where I was able to learn first-hand from world-leading cultural forerunners on governance, cultural policy, and insider tips such as failure, something that we tend not to talk enough about it socially, risking to recognise its transformational power. The experience and knowledge have shaped the way we operate the company and has also provided incredible network opportunities and friendships of the most disparate nature.

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Yolanda Aguilar

You guys also organise creative learning projects headed by Yolanda Aguilar. Can you tell us about these?
Yolanda is an experienced professional trained in dance and theatre, with a Masters in cultural management. She has led international creative learning commissions, and her expertise lies in working with vulnerable groups such as older dancers and those with non-traditional abilities and alternative learning pathways.

You are just about to start a Scottish tour of ‘Within This Dust’ can you tell us about it?
We are looking forward to sharing our piece with Scottish audiences after having performed at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York, where the work was informed by the expert Chief curator Jan Seidler Ramirez and by Dr Lindsay Balfour’s profound analysis of the art and its context. Unfortunately, the theme of terrorism and its impact on Western and global societies continue to be relevant, so we want to engage in a dialogue with our audiences with the view to eventually effect change.

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What was it like to perform at the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York City as part of the museum’s 15-year anniversary programme?
It was the most overwhelming experience, both poignant and beautiful at the same time. We were given several private tours with access to information not shared with the general public that made our presence there just so special. It was sold-out and the museum placed a screen in the foyer so people could join us and it was also live-streamed, so the event became global. New York audiences are very immediate with their reactions and people were happy to fully disclose their emotions, experiences and memories during the post-show discussion. We also met Richard Drew, the photographer that captured the iconic image of the falling man plunging form the World Trade Centre and that was the inspiration for this work. I was very humbled by the generosity of all involved in the event, from cultural partners to audiences, as my work became the catalyst for an honest and moving conversation.

How has the show evolved since its premier to today?
The piece started in 2011 with a research and development period working with one male dancer, as at the time it was envisioned as a single solo piece of work, rather than the triptych that has become. The production now also includes a female dancer, and although this has been the case so far I am not too concerned about the gender of my artists, so who knows? This might change in the future. The show starts with the female solo in a section called Embers, then moves to a duet in S/He, and ends with the Falling Man, the original male solo. The show received Made in Scotland support in 2012 and toured Berlin and Brazil. The production has been informed by different casts over the years and by the political circumstances the world has experienced since, so it now feels like the best existence it never had.

What does the rest of 2017 hold in store for Thomas Small?
We have just finished our Business Plan with the Board, which will take our activities until 2021, so there will be more productions touring the world, and more creative learning projects to reach across Scotland. I am now making a film to support the Dundee 2023 bid for European Capital of Culture, a great project to involve the community and show that Dundee used to be well known in Scotland for its dance halls. I will be starting shortly the production phase of my new show Unwanted, a tongue-in-cheek meets psychotherapy cabaret-like space that explores failure and invites all to share and celebrate its inevitability, accepting it as part of growth.


Within This Dust can be seen at The Brunton Theatre on 21st October at 7:30 pm. Tickets can be booked via The Brunton website or calling 0131 665 2240.  For further information about Within This Dust, visit www.shapercaper.com

Circus Abyssinia : Ethiopian Dreams

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Underbelly’s Circus Hub on the Meadows
Aug 19-20, 22-26 (15:00)

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Unknown.jpegCirque Abyssinia tells the autobiographical story of brothers Bibi and Bichu, who dream of performing in a circus. The man in the moon hears their wishes and transports them to the fantasy world of the circus… Here Bibi and Bichu and other members of Konjowoch Troupe embark on heart in your mouth stunts as the two youngest members are hand vaulted high into the air and caught again by human cradles; somersaults, flips and diving from one human cradle to another, they were received with rapturous applause..

Next in the show were a group of female contortionists, who danced to Ethiopian rhythms and bent themselves in every way possible in serpentine movements, they stacked themselves on top of each other and even supported themselves by their mouthes. The audience were captivated. Next was a colourful display using discs spun by feet and arms, amazing juggling of lit up sticks by the troupe and the original and now grown up Bibi and Bichu, and a cheeky clown who the kids loved.

The grand finale was a Chinese pole which the troupe took turns to climb up and perform tricks sliding down. You could not fail to be impressed by this talented and energetic group who so joyfully perform their circus skills. Great for adults, kids and lovers of circus!

Reviewer : Sophie Younger

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JoJo Bellini : Crash Bang Cabaret

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The Stand Comedy Club 2
Aug 17-27 (22:05)

In 2003, JoJo Bellini was in a major car accident after which she was inserted with all manner of metal poles & said she’d be in a wheelchair at 40. That never happened, & instead she’s jiggying it up at the Edinburgh Fringe in a rather mental hour of ‘cabaret.’ This essentially is her singing some classic tunes in various attires, interspliced with rather warm anecdotes as to her life since the accident. A karaoke queen whose voice isn’t exactly amazing, but which is more than made up for by her enthusiasm, JoJo provides a flouncing flagon of breathless & eye-popping entertainment. I rather felt like one of those old guys in the 60s sipping my mild ale just as a group of flower power girls waltzed into the pub in miniskirts & ordering white wine spritzers.

JoJo comes across like a horny Valkyrie, whose principle message in life – & one she preaches –  is to live your life to its fullest & have fun along the way. Deliciously daft, I’m like ‘is she taking the piss, is she taking the piss as an artform, or is she in fact quite serious about what she does.’ The end result is something quite astounding, not brilliant, but definitely watchable. Welcome to Edinburgh JoJo Bellini, a bubbly-loving, doctor-defying damsel, whose late-night antics are a perfect start to a boozy night on the town.

Reviewer : Damo
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Djuki Mala

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Assembly George Square Theatre
Aug 16-20, 22-27 (16.30)

Ten years ago, a youtube clip was posted from a community called Galiwinku, located on a small remote Island called Elcho Island, at the very top end of Australia. It was of some native aborigines doing Zorba The Greek, & it went rather viral. Its protagonists loved to dance, y’see, of among whose number, Baykali Ganambarr gave a recent interview to the Mumble in which he described his family’s love of dancing; ‘When I was a kid I saw my family dance, my uncles, brothers and father mainly traditional in ceremonies. Then I started to get inspired by my uncle who performed with Bangara. I started off with traditional, then came pop ’n’lock, break dance, hip hop and pretty much everything else. Being a kid in small community and watching the first DJUKI MALA dance I wanted to be with this company, in fact I needed to be there.’

Djuki Mala was the troupe formed after Zorba went viral, who have gone on to tour the world. A decade later their show is a slick piece of physical theatre played out in front of & inbetween wee films which tell the story of the group  also their heritage. ‘Despite the past we are still here,‘ says someone from Elcho Island in a film, & for me, the start of the show is the best, when I felt as if I was a colonial inspector on her majesty’s business, sitting beside some tribal chief while his bravest warriors before the ancient dances of the tribe. Amazing stuff, with a recorded didgeridoo – liek a bee on crystal meth – entwining with the shamanic chants of some Aboriginal elder, & the five painted boys piercing the stage-air with spear & limb : an amazing treat.

But then things changed. They’re right little vibe merchants are Djuki Mala, & have decided to present dance routines sprung from their love contemporary music; disco, hip-hop, old musicals, etc. & proceeded to give us a mish-mash of material. The quality was not in question, but the subject matter was a bit Butlins, & incongruous to say the least. The show had rapidly ran away from its proud roots & entered something underneath contemporary dance, a showcase of populist entertainment which of course pleases the masses – & if that’s what you want they do it more than fantastically well – but for me things had gone wildly awry. Yet, we are ALL members of the global village now & Djuki Mala are supreme representations of that. Both proud to be who they are & excited to be able to absorb international culture, repackage it & present back to us it for our entertainment. is to be commended, but I personally I wanted more Aboriginal material, for everything else they did is just a youtube clip away.

Reviewer : Damo
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Circa: Humans

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Underbelly’s Circus Hub 
Aug 16-20, 22-26
19:00

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Circa have been notable renowned within the contemporary circus industry since 2004. Creating influential circus performances to excite and enthral audiences worldwide. The award winning Circa, directed by Yaron Lifschitz has performed in 39 countries, pushing the limits of physical ability, while combining movement, humour, dance, theatre and circus. Circa return to the festival once again to perform ‘Humans’ at Underbelly in the Lafayette tent, a 550-seat venue, which on a Tuesday, was a sell out performance!

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As the Lafayette tent swells with the patiently queuing audience, a couple of performers dressed in black commence their warm-up, playfully undress down to their leotards, using the clothes to assist their stretches. Dressed in warm hues and transparent black clothing, the ten strong performers flip, spin and throw themselves on to the stage one by one to dynamic energetic music. For the past couple of years Circa have stripped back the glitz, glamour and fluffy bunny suits. Lifschitz has changed direction to provide a no frills, just an expert performance of acrobatics and circus art. Supported only by simple spotlights and empowering music.

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The continual energetic bursts of movement and powerful stunts have the audience on the edge of their seat, at times there is so much activity you do not know where to focus. All the while the talented muscular performers make each movement seem effortless. The trust and playful familiarity the Circa cast maintain is admirable. The few props; swing, bricks and hanging belts are used sparingly, centring solely on defying gravity and twisting their inhuman-like elastic bodies into contorted forms. In once sequence they comically try to lick their elbow, demonstrating they are only human, however in the final act this is contradicted, as one man holds and balances four performers on his shoulders. As always the Circa crew do not fail to disappoint. I urge you to see this extraordinary performance before it sells out.

Reviewer : Sarah Lewis

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