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We Are Ian review at Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh – ‘light-hearted immersive dance’

We Are Ian at Pleasance Dome. Photo: Matt Austin We Are Ian at Pleasance Dome. Photo: Matt Austin
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Ian was in his twenties when the acid house movement kicked off in Manchester. It gave him a sense of belonging and allowed him to regularly DJ, fuelled by alcohol and drugs. Hitting middle age, Ian is now a painter and decorator, married with kids and wistfully remembering the antics of his youth. In Bed With My Brother has interviewed Ian and edited the commentary to form the basis of We Are Ian, an immersive dance piece that gives perspective to the era and searches for the triggers that sparked a movement.

Ian’s beery interview is morbidly fascinating but it’s the performers’ reactions that characterise this production. Hanging off his every word, the trio of young dancers move frenetically to snatches of the greatest club anthems of the age. They mug and mime, attempting to relive the experience but some moments are lost in translation, notably when biscuits replace ecstasy as the drug of choice.

On tape, Ian bemoans how kids today have nothing to unite them but this show knows different. A pack mentality kicks in and gradually all the audience begins to move as one to the music. The triggers are still there, as one by one the entire audience steps onto the stage where the party continues.

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Loud, light-hearted immersive dance piece that morphs into a social experiment