JUNK ENSEMBLE
IRISH THEATRE MAGAZINE
Dublin Fringe Festival 2008

Drinking Dust ****


A child pedals her bike around the perimeter of the second floor stage just before the recorded voice of her adult self intervenes to contextualize the scene: Her mother (we presume) has died and a stepmother has stolen her memories. When a concealed figure materializes (Megan Kennedy), this dance piece unfolds as a multi-layered story of uncanny doubles, hidden histories and frustrated memories.

Joined by another girl (Jessica Kennedy), the pair stage a dance of synchronicity and resistance, in gestures that evoke the youthful games of sisters, while watched by an older, frustrated man (Daniel Reardon) who cannot fly despite his ritualised flaps. When the gorgeous dusty sprays that punctuate these moves (and give junk ensemble's piece its title) eventually waft up to the audience and register as talcum powder - the smell of babies and eccentric old ladies - the performance is firmly framed as a memory piece.

While the dancers themselves are compelling, splitting the action between a two-tiered stage keeps the audience at a distance, when all we want is to sneak in closer. The link between the choreography and the opening narrative is not always clear, and somewhere along the line we are given too much information, or perhaps too little.

With co-direction from Feidlim Cannon and Gary Keegan of Brokentalkers, there are many warm moments here, but unlike the dust, the heat struggles to rise.

FINTAN WALSH