Sunday, July 3

Passagers – Hull New Theatre

This is going to be the shortest review I’ve ever written. Here goes: O.M.G!

Well, as this is a UK premiere, my reviewer conscience won’t let me stop at just three letters, so I’ll carry on.

On a rainy Tuesday night in Hull, a packed house marvelled at the antics of eight super-talented performers, male and female, who go by the name of The 7 Fingers.

A short glitch at curtain up meant we were sitting looking at a dark stage for a couple of minutes, but things were soon rectified and from then on it was breathtaking action all the way.

The theme of train journeys ran throughout – departures, arrivals and everything else associated with rail travel.

Here, I must mention the amazing background scenes and atmospheric lighting and music that accompanied every movement on stage. Oh, and the plain costumes that were just perfect; and the singing voices and …. Space prevents me from letting my fingers overdo it on my keyboard, so I will just concentrate on the physical aspects of what I witnessed on the night.

It’s not often I am lost for words, but I’m struggling to describe what this crew are capable of.

Their “rail journeys” involved being bodily tossed around like leaves in the wind and caught each time as if in the safest and biggest pairs of hands.

Every movement was obviously choreographed (it had to be, such was the danger involved), but appeared so natural and effortless, yet was unmistakably death-defying.

Imagine, if you will, the lithe, supple body of a ballet dancer, crossed with the strength of a weightlifter and you get a rough idea of how these eight appeared so graceful, but with cores of steel.

There was multi, and very fast hula-hooping, the like of which you have to see to believe. One young woman twisted and twirled 20ft in the air, with only the thinnest silky material holding her weight. A swing even higher upheld two performers, one of whom kept dramatically falling into the strong arms of her fellow performers, who promptly and regularly threw her back up into the waiting arms and legs of her co-swinger.

We saw clubs being thrown around and caught as if on strong elastic; daring acrobatics on a metal hoop high above the stage; and the scariest thing I’ve ever seen, a man being thrown and swung around at speed, from a metal tower, thankfully always being caught by another man, with split-second timing.

Oh, and not forgetting the brave young man who slid headfirst, at great speed, down a very high pole, stopping just inches from the stage. Phew!

This is just a small part of proceedings. Sometimes there was so much going on, my eyes were on a swivel. If I’ve missed anything out, it’s because I’m still in shock.

Sadly, it was only at this theatre for one night only, as part of Hull’s Freedom Festival 2021. But they are in the UK for a few more weeks, so check out their website for venues.

And if you are lucky enough to see their show, like me, you’ll probably just say O.M.G!

Presented by Dance Consortium, Hull New Theatre and Freedom Festival Arts Trust

Written, directed and choreographed by Shana Carroll

Musical director: Colin Gagné

Tickets from £15. For more information of The 7 Fingers UK tour, visit www.the7fingers.com For more details of Hull’s Freedom Festival 2021 visit www.freedomfestival.co.uk

Reviewer: Jackie Foottit

Reviewed: 28th September 2021

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★

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