Glasgow-based and Rambert-trained choreographer and performer Katie Armstrong brings her latest work, Sketches, to the Manipulate Festival, based this year at Edinburgh’s Summerhall.

Dissonant sounds from composer and DJ Mariam Rezaei play in the non-seated Main Hall, while five – so far silent – string musicians dot the room as the audience weaves past them to assemble.  A lot of regrouping goes on, starting with the quintet assembling to play a movement of Bach’s Violin Concerto in A Minor, before the dance suddenly begins.

Somehow the ensemble conjure space for the three dancers who take turns to perform the sketches that express a series of chance and brief encounters. Some are in the centre of the room; one is performed on two chairs. The precision, intensity and fluidity of the performers’ movements are impressive.  There is no costume per se but the dancers’ everyday attire of jeans, trainers and tops in complimenting colours neatly reflect the casualness of these meetings.

An original plan that each vignette be experienced in outdoor pop-up spaces around central Edinburgh was shelved, which may give a clue as to why the show doesn’t quite work here. Seeing each sketch independently and in an open-air space would have been a completely different experience to seeing them in sequence in different parts of a room where the viewers are standing. As all the performances took place at floor level, much of it cannot be seen by sections of the audience whose are unlucky in their standing position.  Some more focused crowd direction and instructions that taller folk should view from the back of the crowd would be a big help to allow the company’s evident talent to be fully appreciated.

When the actions are in view, the skill of the choreography – along with the movements of all three dancers, two of whom are unfortunately not credited in the programme – is clear and deserves to be witnessed in its entirety.  Thankfully, the music can be heard without impediment, though sadly the quintet members also go unnamed. Better consideration of sight lines would have allowed this promising show to have been better appreciated.