Note: This review is from the 2017 Fringe

Part of this spring’s Dance International Glasgow (DIG), The North is the tale of a man’s inner journey, lost in an unidentified northern environment. As Tramway’s Associate Artist, Spanish performer Joan Clevillé continues his collaboration with the team of artists assembled for his praised debut Plan B for Utopia. The piece blends elements of dance, physical theatre, and puppetry with a cinematic feel.

Finding inspiration in the concept of “the North” – the light, the silence, its creatures and the inhabitants’ strange sense of humour – the choreographer explores the idea through an odd fairy story that leaves the audience under its spell. In search for a meaning, the lost man (John Kendall)  is being physically and mentally manipulated by two strange polymorphic female creatures (Solène Weinachter and Eve Ganneau, former dancers with Scottish Dance Theatre). Sounds, bizarre vocal and light effects alternate to display a surreal world, conveying tones of joy and sadness, compassion and solitude, humanity and weirdness.

Supported by original music composed by Luke Sutherland (former collaborator of Mogwai), the three performers’ playfulness and obvious symbiosis occupy the stage with grace and oddity, building up a poetic vision of the man’s inner landscape and confusion. The North finally described in this contemporary piece is a place of the imagination, a sort of limbo, a desolate, unpredictable territory, open to many interpretations.

Echoing the solitude of the climber from Into the Mountain by Simone Kenyon also showcased at DIG this year, The North embodies another facet of solitude in an unpredictable environment. The latter performance offers a more unsettling interpretation, mirroring the man’s inexplicable situation and disorientation, humbled by an environment that is stronger than him.