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A Live Trail
Published on Friday, 13 May 2011

4 stars

The Nightingale (venue website)
7, 14, 21, 28 May, 11:00am-12:40pm, 11:30am-1:10pm, 12:00pm-1:40pm, 12:30pm-2:10pm, 1:00pm-2:40pm
Reviewed by Richard Stamp

 Suitable for age 15+ only.
 World Premiere.

Bring a thirst for adventure and some sensible shoes; you'll need both for this mind-expanding theatrical tour. Starting at the much-loved Nightingale, you'll join a guided hunt for fun-size creative treats - hidden away in basements, kitchens and the odd shop window, scattered throughout the surrounding streets.

Wondering what's coming next is part of the delight, so you'll excuse me if I skimp on the detail.  There's some quirky, heart-warming, sexually frank dance; there's a soundscape enjoyed in blindfolds, with familiar sounds of humanity whispered in our ears.  Sometimes we're just watching, and sometimes we're taking part.  But almost all the vignettes are surprising, rule-bending and new.

There's one piece I just can't keep quiet about: Spidologist, performed by the astonishingly agile Hollie Miller.  In a darkened, abandoned outhouse, we're cast in the role of curious scientists, observing the lifecycle of a surreal human insect.  She seems happy enough to see us, but wait - is she dancing for joy, or writhing in pain?  Whether our intervention proves for good or ill, we can't escape our complicity; it's our torches which light her face, our hands which opened the door.

There are more hard questions to face along the way, with a recurring theme of authority and your willingness to do as you're told.  There's one piece, in particular, which will be well out of your comfort zone, though everyone in the group I'd joined agreed they were glad they'd given it a try.  And at the end, there's a much-valued chance to debrief with your new-found friends, sharing thoughts and responses to all you've experienced along the way.

Inevitably, there were a couple of pieces I found less successful, but there was barely time to be disappointed before we moved on.  With a well-judged, well-planned mix of moods and styles, the Live Trail will hold pleasures for everyone - everyone, that is, who's willing to start a journey without knowing quite where it will lead.

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These are archived reviews of shows from Brighton 2011.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.