Dance Review: Fabulous Beast 'Rian' @ Sadlers Wells

By Londonist Last edited 119 months ago
Dance Review: Fabulous Beast 'Rian' @ Sadlers Wells

Dublin based company, Fabulous Beast, made its Sadler's Wells debut on Tuesday presenting the UK premiere of Rian in front of an usually excitable London audience.

Artistic director Michael Keegan-Dolan worked with Irish musician and composer Liam O’Maonlai to create an "expressive cultural hybrid", exploring their tradition and heritage in music and dance. Inventing their own traditions, the dancers generated 108 movements in response to O’Maonlai’s music, which were named and listed in the programme.

Rian is a looping journey from high-energy, impish jigs to melancholy solos and back. The eclectic but repetitive motifs begin to wear us down over 110 minutes but the majority of the audience love every moment - caught up in the music - whooping, clapping and drumming their feet, creating an uplifting and infectious auditorium vibe.

The dancers are extraordinary; energetic and so deeply engaged in the music you can see single notes rippling through their torsos. Such tiny nuances and the complete union of movement with the wonderful music are highlights of the work.

Simple and epic, Rian gives the audience space for contemplation in the quieter moments and the experience of attending an Irish wedding or folk club in the upbeat sections. In the days of highly intellectualised and digital performance it is an easy pleasure to watch amazing performers having a good time.

Warning: this video will set your toes tapping.

By Hetty Blades

If you find those Irish folk vibes infectious, check out what's on at Cecil Sharp House, The Magpie's Nest and The London Irish Centre.

Last Updated 26 October 2011