Yukon Ho! (Tall Tales from the Great White North) review at Summerhall, Edinburgh – ‘autobiographical dance cabaret’
A lone, heavily coated figures staggers on to a vast empty stage and the sound of howling winds whistle about the room. The figure is bent double, weighted down with supplies but the focus is on planting the Yukon territory flag.
Performer Jennifer Irons grew up in the Great White North, a land of bright summer sun but long, brutal winters. Yukon Ho! is a bittersweet love letter to her youth where the artist explores how so very little seems to have changed since the Klondike Gold Rush in 1897.
The death rate is extraordinarily high, not simply because of the climate and habitat, but also through suicide and drug dependency. By the age of 19, Irons had lost 14 of her friends and found that dancing displaced the pain.
This autobiographical dance cabaret sees Irons revisit her teenage years, where she danced the can-can for whisky shots and the poker chips thrown on stage by the punters.
Iron’s energy is undeniable and her testimony heartbreaking, in a piece that reminds us that frontier women are everywhere, still pushing boundaries and challenging borders.
Author Robert Churchill has crafted some evocative poetry to accompany the work and it is to this late, award-winning writer that the work has been dedicated.
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