- Greenside @ Nicolson Square(Venue 209) 22:00 Aug 10-13
Unsure what to expect, Are we stronger than Winston proved to be a powerful raw piece of theatre. Exceeding my expectations and sparking a new interest in contemporary dance as a way of expression it is a show that has something to say and a beautiful expressive way of saying it.
A company of seven, all self trained and most of them friends from school, it is a close knit unit that performs this piece. The show was originally created in reaction to climate change and to show the dramatic effect global warming is having in Pacific. It was adapted, a few months into the creative process, to include the catastrophic effects of the cyclone Winston which destroyed large parts of Fiji and tore families apart.
All the dancers are from Fiji and it is clear throughout their performance how close to their hearts the subject is. One particularly moving speech during the middle of the dance by one of the female dancers really struck the audience with how devastating this natural disaster was for the Fijians. One of her statements – ‘why did we call him Winston?’ – was particularly relevant given this new bizarre trend of naming tornados, cyclones and storms. Why should we give them human characteristics? It implies we have some powers over them, which as the audience sees portrayed so clearly in the piece, is as far from the truth as possible. These are out of humans control and we would be fools to think otherwise.
Their choreography is a little rough, at times seeming a little jarred and not quite flowing, but the raw power of the dancers manages to overcome this making it a little less noticeable. They embody the fury of Winston and the power of nature and are invigorating to watch on stage.
On speaking to the performers after the show they explain the Fringe is the first place they have performed the piece. For a premiere run, it is remarkably polished. They also explained how the show drew upon many Fijians true experiences during Winston and this rings throughout the piece as each little story comes alive in its retelling. Although nervous about returning their piece to Fiji to perform it for the first time I think they underestimate the raw evocative nature of the show they have created and how moving it is for the audience. Although a different tone to many of the shows on the Fringe this year it makes a welcome change and they deserve to be seen.