Into the Water (4 stars)

Irish dancers Up & Over It create lo-fi alchemy in this voyage of whimsical discovery

Into the Water

credit: Jonny Reed

Former Riverdancers Suzanne Cleary and Peter Harding have been producing shows inspired by their skills and training for some years now, most notably finding fame through hand-dancing on Britain's Got Talent. They savvily perceived that this essential part of learning the rhythms of Irish dance would make a brilliant and original spectacle of its own, and indeed it does.

What makes Into the Water special, however, is the anarchic, nostalgic and inventive hotchpotch of ingredients that has gone into its staging, along with Jonny Reed's digital design. Turning their eclectic vision and sharp talent towards creating work for children, Up & Over It has conjured lo-fi alchemy.

In a fantasy landscape, glittering with more homemade inventions and brassy-coloured toys than an 80s sci-fi movie, Cleary and Harding test and investigate their surroundings. That's about it plot-wise, which is the beautiful thing about this piece – all is discovery and invention. A book gives instructions on patterns of dance, a banana turns out to power a light-bulb strewn whirligig, and when the pair discover live-looping, things really start (rhythmically) cooking with gas.

As well as a voyage into the imagination, this is a celebration of Irish folk dance with a difference – the kind of children's show that adults could happily sneak into and enjoy.

theSpace @ Surgeons Hall, until 21 Aug, 11.40am, £10.50–£11.50 (£7.50–£8.50).

Into the Water

  • 4 stars

Up & Over It A fantasy dance adventure from your favourite folk dance misfits, Up & Over It. A foot-stomping, hand-tapping show set in a magical wasteland, where anything is possible and friendship is everything. Up & Over It have travelled the world with their modern take on traditional folk dance. They’re…


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