I have previously heard of Lewys Holt’s performance of Phrases be compared to a stand up comedy show, but in contemporary dance. After watching Phrases at the Summerhall, I believe this to be the perfect way to sum up Holt’s hilarious and delightful dance theatre production.
The performance begins the minute you enter into the space (a lecture theatre based at Summerhall), as he dances what appears to be structured improvisation and continues to do so once everyone is seated. Armed with just a chair and a laptop, the rest of his performance is wacky and wonderful.
Phrases essentially explores what would happen if we took sayings (or phrases) literally. He spends much of the performance exploring the miscommunication of the phrase ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’, regularly calling on the audience to give him suggestions. He frequently makes use of his laptop to project his stream of consciousness writing onto the wall behind him, whilst simultaneously improvising around the space, to hilarious and thought provoking effect.
His laptop acts as almost a second performer in Phrases as he uses it in a way to create amusement in simple yet effective ways. A particular highlight was as an image of Bach was taken on a walk around the seaside background of his laptop, and the PowerPoint slideshow of British seaside towns relating to the word ‘mouth’.
Holt stands in solidarity with the anxious, over thinkers of the world as he tackles confusion and communication. Phrases is fun, eccentric and clever.