Whilst the audience is queuing outside of the Old Lab Theatre in Summerhall we are given a brief introduction before Working On My Night Moves begins. We are instructed that we will need to stand for the first 5 minutes of the show and that we should get out of the way of a moving ladder if we should encounter one. It’s not exactly the sort of introduction you would expect from a typical fringe performance, but Working On My Night Moves is not your typical show.
When we do enter the Old Lab we are huddled into a corner of the stage. In front of us is a black sheet with white fairy lights attached. The sheet is pulled back and the show begins. This first section of the performance only really works if you have a good view. If you are stood towards the back of the huddle you might not see what is going on. This is an alienating experience, but judging from what happens for the next hour, this may well be the initial intention. Working On My Night Moves is performed by Julia Croft and Nisha Madhan and involves the performers moving chairs to create sculptures and to build a science fiction landscape. The also use tinfoil to create costumes and evoke images of futurism. The performers hang objects from the ceiling and dress up as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. They also do a lot more bizarre and seemingly random tasks that add to the strangeness and obscure nature of the show. At times it is interesting to watch, but sometimes it looks as if they are just having fun and not really considering the fact that there is an audience watching the performance. However, what the performers do is present an intense live art experience that showcases a future designed from their own perspective and this feels inviting and challenging.
Working On My Night Moves is not for everyone. It is completely subversive. Some of the images they create are evocative and powerful, but others just seem ridiculous. One thing is for sure is that Julia Croft and Nisha Madhan have devised a show that looks like nothing else. The pair have created a science fiction landscape and their own unique take on feminist futurism.