LorBoy meets dream girl, boy woos girl, boy gets girl. It’s surely one of the most common narratives in both historic and contemporary storytelling. Yet what would happen if the girl grabbed hold of the story, subverting the narrative with a Hitchcockian twist? And added to such unfamiliar territory, this mixed-up tale was told through the medium of ballet and contemporary circus performance?
This is the intriguing concept that underpins Insomniac’s Fable, a surreal dreamscape piece produced by From Start to Finnish/Agit-Cirk. Exploring the subversion of traditional gender roles throughout the development of a romantic relationship, choreography – which is reminiscent of some of Hans van Manen’s work with NDT – is sharp and elegantly executed by Sakari Männistö and Erin O’Toole. The twist, of course, is that contempory dance moves are augmented by adept juggling featuring balls, hoops, and clubs. And this integrates with the storytelling suprisingly well, with there being only a couple of brief occaisons where the circus skills perhaps slightly hinder, rather than enhance, the unfolding narrative.
Beyond the choreography alone Insomniac’s Fable is significantly enhanced by the use of a really cleverly curated sonic landscape, and some excellent lighting and visuals, particularly projected woodcut textures and animations, that really deliver the dream-like quality the production seeks to emulate. It’s obvious that considerable thought has been given to making the performance as aurally and visually stimulating as possible.
Insomniac’s Fable inventively delivers a contemporary twist on traditional narrative and performance. The combination of dance and juggling works well, for the most part. Certainly check it out if you are keen to explore both dance and romance with a twist.
Insomniac’s Fable is no snooze – ★★★★ 4 stars