Back of the Bus review at Assembly George Square – ‘eloquent dances’
In Edinburgh during the Fringe Festival, practically anywhere can become a venue, regardless of the practicalities of theatre craft. While the gorgeously appointed Dancehub is an excellent facility for exploring choreographed pieces you may also find satisfaction on the top of a double-decker bus. Java Dance Theatre have developed a quirky selection of character dance pieces, performed on a travelling Routemaster.
Utilising the movement of the vehicle, the dancers challenge issues of personal space, flailing about in an exaggerated manner to replicate the chaos of an urban bus journey. It’s a witty, ice-breaker of an opening movement and its antidote is more gentle, but nonetheless invasive. To the strains of accordion music, a graceful, plein-air style is adopted by Lauren Carr and when the bus draws to a halt in the Meadows, the park becomes a much larger space to engage with the passengers.
A few more stops and a thin, underlying narrative, Back Of The Bus unfolds as a wholly satisfying experience, combining immersive and site-specific experiences in one rather exciting bus ride. Dance pieces in the park, then later a health spa and then the Assembly bar, may allow for greater freedom of expression but it’s the uncertainty and intimacy of the choreographed bus dancing that make this show.