Review: BoxedIn Theatre Presents: Symbiosis

A small but choice environmentally-conscious, poetry-laced dance solo in an unusual location

★★★★
dance review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Symbiosis
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Published 11 Aug 2019

Charmaine Hiller's wee gem of a poetry-driven, environmentally-conscious dance solo is a good example of how the Fringe can lead us to make unexpected discoveries of young talent in an unusual location. The setting is The Greenhouse, a pop-up venue overseen by The Pleasance and situated, fittingly, just beside the entrance to Dynamic Earth at the bottom of Holyrood Road. The Greenhouse is, essentially, a shed and the ethos behind it is sustainability.

The cosy little structure uses recycled and reclaimed materials, including an opaque plastic roof that lets in natural light. Hiller dances inside it on dried grass, bits of which cling to her simple, two-piece costume. She's a sturdy, expressive mover, sensitive to her surroundings without at any point acknowledging our presence in the intimate space. But that's fitting, too, as what Hiller is doing is thoughtfully embodying internal consciousness. She dances in a kind of rapture, responding to a mainly instrumental soundtrack that alternates with recordings of her self-delivered autobiographical poetry.

She's a good writer, observant and emotionally-nuanced, among whose subjects are memory, romance, grief, solitude and the sensations of nature. Her dancing is likewise nicely-detailed and assured.

Initially I wonder if Hiller's choreography is perhaps too repetitive, and if she needs to expand her kinetic vocabulary by maybe introducing more abrasion into it. By the end of her rather humble, half-hour show I've revised that early impression. Ultimately I leave it pleased and grateful for the journey on which she has taken both herself and me.