Latitude’s performance lineup is always richly eclectic and this year more than matched the dramatically varied skies – alternating between dazzling sunshine and epic storms – above. It was a programme that sat spectacular French theatrical aquatic parades, involving burning angels and ladies of the lake, floating on water that would soon engulf Johnny as he iconically lifted Baby during Dirty Dancing’s very popular performance. Meanwhile delicate performance art in the Faraway Forest from companies like Forest Fringe was nestled alongside new work by the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Errollyn Wallen Company’s Cautionary Tales looks to impart wisdom through Hilaire Belloc’s macabre children’s tales of woe and wickedness. This is an audacious opera for children, with Wallen’s sophisticated score fluctuating between harmonious arrangements and discordance with ease. Belloc’s libretto, adapted by Pia Furtado, sometimes has a hard time keeping up and occasionally the precise meaning of each moment is lost. However, this fine cast of singers is charming and the singers keep their wriggly charges’ attention.
Another cautionary tale is Annie Siddons’ whimsical wonder, Raymondo. Through a melodic mixture of storytelling and music, Siddons’ weaves a web of rich imagery around the ill-fated but irrepressible Raymondo and his brother Sparky. The piece is possibly too long, but it is a gorgeous contemporary fairytale and a must for both adults and children.
Inspired by Tennessee Williams’ play Camino Real, Candoco’s Two for C, sees the company once again working with choreographer Javier de Frutos. Wearing lucha libre wrestling masks, Rick Rodgers and Kostas Papamatthaiakis fight within a square carpeted combat ring. Exploring the power plays within a relationship, they interweave the bumps and scraps of domestic fighting with the melodramatic flamboyancy of staged wrestling. Their placement on the Lake Stage – an intimate space in terms of size, but an epic one in terms of backdrop – is perfect.
Another glove like fit is Will Dickie’s Team of the Decades. Festivals are inherently communal environments; you see tight-knit gangs of people heading out for adventures everywhere you look. There couldn’t be a better setting for Dickie’s interactive show, which sees him whipping 10 ramshackle festival-goers into a symbiotic sports team. It’s a buzzy ride, with tackles, races and high fives galore. But within all the pumped up action it’s also a moving exploration of masculinity as Dickie plays coach, team captain and his own father. Involving highs, lows, energy and intimacy – it’s the perfect embodiment of this messy, magical and unmissable festival.