We Are All Just Little Creatures @ Traverse Theatre

Image contribution:
Pete Dibdin

Original Concept by Christine Devaney

Directors: Christine Devaney, Maria Oller & Jo Timmins

Composers: David Paul Jones & Kevin Lennon

When was the last time you found yourself delighted? If you even remember the feeling at all. In uncertain times, we strive to maintain happiness, but delight is cast to the wayside. Three years in the making, We Are All Just Little Creatures is another collaborative piece between Christine Devaney with Lung Ha Theatre Company and Lyra. A movement piece which places its performers at the forefront, their ideas are the key to this production.

The community of dancers, free to innovate, makes for unique movement. There’s a tremendous effort for freedom – to dance just as they feel, but with a central choreography still in place. The plethora of human existence is conveyed on stage at the Traverse with laughs, tears, joy and fragility.

Providing structure to the piece are dancers Charlotte McLean, Hendrik Lebon and Holly Irving. The energy and dedication from these three is exhausting to watch, let alone perform. There’s rarely a moment of rest as the trio lead solo and group pieces, a the while supporting, encouraging or mimicking the community dancers leads. Their professionalism is as evident as their talent. McLean and Irving, in particular, having tight control of pop-locked limbs, and Irving an enviable fluidity in her serpentine-like movements.

Scribbling in the background as the dancers move is artist Yvonne Buskie. As the little creatures perform their piece, the jungle grows in scale. Her artistic talents are evident, even getting involved with spoken segments. It can be distracting for our curiosity to see the finished piece – but with involvement later from the dancers the illustrative works find firmer ground.

Pushing for even more of a creative edge, a sense of identity is found both in costume design and paper puppetry. One has a suspicion or at least hope that costumes were in part picked by the community performers as each individual looks sensational. All encompassing some kind of wildlife motif – from scales, feathers, leopard print, to a fabulous set of butterfly wings.

Perhaps with the most courageous or direct connection to the audience, is the Lyra Young Artists portraying the Delight Collectors. Observing from a window at the rear of the stage, they come to face the audience directly requesting a series of answers to queries many of us would rather shun away from. They offer small bursts of euphoric excitement with an encouraging reminder of the future passions for Scottish theatre.

Furthering a recent (overdue) trend in theatre is the inclusion of a British Sign Language interpreter. Rachel Amey’s inclusion is spectacular, going beyond interpretation and involving herself in the production at moments.

Accompanying our performers is a deeply mesmeric musical component, composed and performed by David Paul Jones & Kevin Lennon. The liveness of the track adds even more artistic merit with a multitude of styles. It is the track Dragonflies performed by Boo Hewerdine which stands apart echoing the vastness of the emotional intent of this production.

So, true to form, We Are All Just Little Creatures – none higher or lower than the other. All on even footing, a footing we are encouraged to cut loose. To dance, move, sway, leap and most importantly to just simply do something. To avoid stagnation, invite one another to laugh, cry, desire and simply shake hands.

Review originally published for Reviews Hub:
https://www.thereviewshub.com/we-are-all-just-little-creatures-traverse-theatre-edinburgh/