Thursday, 4 September 2008

'Canned Heat' Is Distinctly Cold

'Canned Heat' Dance Show
Hull University Dance Society
End 07/08 Term

The University’s Dance Society, one would assume, encompasses both those who excel at dance, and those who enjoy dancing regardless. When watching their mountainous production in April, it was surprisingly easy to observe the divide.
As soon as the dancing began, some performers were left behind, with more than a handful suffering an overwhelming lack of rhythm. Even the girls who shone in ability displayed faces shrouded in misery and concentration. Perhaps the Union would be kind enough this year to provide funding for Dance Society auto cues, suggested wording: FOR GODS SAKE SMILE.
Criticism should always be constructive however, and there were some good points of the show. The Dance Sport Salsa girl-girl couple in short dresses were confident, talented, and above all happy. The show was well organised, resplendently costumed, and all previous sins were temporarily absolved by the brilliantly energetic full company version of ‘You Cant Stop The Beat’ (Hairspray).
This show was titled ‘Canned Heat’, but one could not help notice that parts of the Dance Society were distinctly off-the-boil, leaving the dissatisfying feeling that ‘Adequately Packaged and Hot in Places’ would have been a more accurate disclaimer.

Baby With The Bathwater

Baby With The Bathwater - Christopher Durang
Hull University Drama Society
End 07/08 Term

It is unclear as to whether audience comprehension was high on Christopher Durang’s list when he wrote this play, but the Drama Soc treatment rendered the performance entertaining despite the almost overwhelming confusion. This bizarre nature versus nurture play saw parents Helen (Anna Esko) and John (Alex Davies) subjecting their unfortunate male progeny Daisy (Doug Ackerman) to a childhood of memories literally climbing over each other to be first into the ‘repressed’ bank.
Directors Tom Perry and Linzi Hamilton created the set; a vibrant and rather brilliant toy-filled Elysium, which almost made up for the limited performance venue which Asylum offers. The acting throughout was of a generally high standard, with Esko and Davies leading the troupe. Drama Soc regular Anna Corbett had a modest but well suited role, and Kit Hargreaves queer impersonation of Nanny was as excruciatingly disconcerting as it was down right amusing.
The experience overall would have benefited from certain scenes being cut down or entirely removed, but the more successful areas of the play teemed with ironic and uncomfortable humour, serving to rate ’Baby’ as among the best of Drama Soc productions of recent years.