An electric start to Arches LIVE 2014

There's No Point Crying Over Spilt Milk
There's No Point Crying Over Spilt Milk

Featuring everything from a one-on-one circus show to a piece of interactive theatre executed by text message, Arches LIVE is back with a bang.

The annual festival fills every nook and cranny of the labyrinthine Arches venue with the freshest adventures in art.

This year’s cornucopia of ideas got off to a suitably high quality start with ‘There’s No Point Crying Over Spilt Milk’ - a collaboration between performer Aby Watson and composer Alexander Horowitz.

The blend of dance and music centres around a series of variations on a theme - namely the children’s song ‘Heads and Shoulders, Knees and Toes’. It’s an unlikely-sounding construct but works remarkably well. The simple tune creates a framework around which Watson builds an entire life, from childhood innocence to adult loss. It’s funny, poignant and smart, with Watson a mesmeric stage presence. Never have the simple words ‘no’ and ‘ok’ been used to such great and varied effect.

Similarly experimental, though significantly less focused, is ‘Cloud Mushrooms’ by Louise Ahl and Fritz Welch. It all starts promisingly with some terrific physical theatre. Ahl creates a delightfully comic character reminiscent of a Miyazaki animation with nothing but a black sheet and helmet. It’s all set to a squealing, scratchy percussion soundtrack delivered by Welch.

After the sheets come off things take a less appealing turn. There’s a fine line between challenging and pretention, and the duo arguably begin to veer into the latter with a series of surreal non sequiters. It all comes together in the end though, with a rather beautiful conclusion.

Last up on the whistlestop theatrical tour was Dylan McCaughtry’s ‘Summoning Swayze’, where the performer seeks to summon the late ‘Dirty Dancing’ actor by way of a highly-dubious seance. It’s a big, stupid hug of immersive theatre which left every audience member with a smile as broad as McCaughtry’s sense of humour.

Arches LIVE continues this Friday. Go to www.thearches.co.uk for tickets.