Monday, March 8

Wait For Me – Online

In the week that we are told that arts jobs are “not viable”, I was introduced to a unique dance musical that brings together creativity and impassioned storytelling.

It’s a traditional love story; two lovers meet, go through hardship, and come back together. But not every romance adds spirits and singing inner voices into the mix. The two guardian angels, unbeknownst to their human counterparts, are guiding and influencing them in their movements, as in their life. When the characters’ emotions are elevated, the singers add another layer to convey their feelings. It is a very clever concept from writer, Sam Cassidy, and one that culminates in a full-circle romantic ending.

The lovechild of Cassidy and Ainsley Ricketts (choreographer, director and performer in the piece) was meant for live theatre, but when lockdown hit the team decided to release it to a wider audience by capturing it on camera. The adjusting of focus, the panning and movie-like transitions move the story along nicely, and the lighting design of Matthew Carnazza uses simple tonal shifts and shadows to bring life to the minimal set.  Ricketts has spoken about his excitement to add more subtleties, and I have to say that these moments were beautifully captured by videographer, Nick Ross. It almost seems a shame to think that the smaller movements and facial expressions could have been lost to someone at the back of the stalls.

The choreography by Ricketts (The Greatest Dancer) is intricately accented and visually stunning. He does not shy away from stillness, but also excels at expressing happiness and devastation through grander movement. The dancers’ authenticity is impressive and moving, especially since they have nowhere to hide with the cameras.  I was instantly in awe of Jaih Betote (Cats), who exudes charisma and believability in his style. A memorable part where the female dancers were in unison, backed by a powerful vocal performance from Eloise Davies, was so impactful that I was completely blown away.

There were moments in the middle that felt a little out of place and slowed the piece slightly, but this didn’t take away from the uplifting finale. In this complicated time for the arts, it was a joy to see the performing disciplines celebrated in such an inventive piece. I hope it brings joy to more homes and theatres in the future too.

Wait For Me premieres tonight (5th October 2020) via https://www.facebook.com/WaitForMeLive  

Reviewer: Coral Mourant

Reviewed: 5th October 2020

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★

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