Dance Review: Java Dance Company - Cheese
Java Dance Company
Mac's Function Centre
Like Capital E, Java Dance Company are national treasures. This time around, their very clever and entertaining Cheese had two performances only, on the same day. It is part of the Capital E National Arts Festival, running until March 25.
The venue worked surprisingly well. It is a spacious hall with a stage at one end, and sightlines are good.
Artistic Director/choreographer Sacha Copland and her four talented dancer/musicians – Lauren Carr, Tristan Carter, Charley Davenport and Natalie Hona – have created a non-stop, fun-filled 45-minute show which is suitable for children aged 2+ years. But adults who enjoy a good laugh and watching imaginative theatre will enjoy it too.
Java has been on an investigative culinary trip for a while now. Their Artisan Series began in 2011, with Rise, involving bread making. 2015 brought the hugely popular The Wine Project (self-explanatory), which also had an award-winning season in Edinburgh in 2016. Their latest show, Cheese is set in a creamery, doubtless one without health and safety standards, judging by all the straw bales everywhere.
The opening faux opera "arias", delivered with great relish by Carr and Carter, had the children in the audience laughing fit to bust.
One of the great things about Java is the way they show us you can make songs up out of anything, even with words as silly as "yum,yum,yum, yar! Likewise anything can become a musical instrument –- tables, buckets, bits of wood, all of which happens here. However, everything is enhanced by the excellent musicianship of Carter (banjo, violin, percussion) and Davenport (cello). Their slapstick tomfoolery belies their high level of expertise.
Imagination is the winner of the day. We happily suspend our disbelief as Copland enters with Hona strapped to her back carrying a yoke of "udders", which proceed to be hilariously "milked" on stage. This was definitely a cow, and yet of course it wasn't. That's what made it funny.
Non-threatening audience participation happens throughout. The cows gently butt children and offer them bits of their "grass", aka spinach.
Hopefully, this udderly delightful show will return for a longer run sometime soon.