#Trans Review at 'Mirabilia Festival' Review by Lorna Irvine.  

(13th July 2016 2016)

 

Are we sitting demurely? Or manspreading? Then let us begin.

Ema Jayne Park’s study in sexuality  is a wry,clever spin on how women and men ‘perform’ gender . Dressed in a neutral grey tracksuit, Park, with a simple pout or wiggle of her hips is Marilyn Monroe. An eyebrow raise and strut,and she’s Jay-Z.

Both are as absurd as the other.Such gendered cliches have a habit of ‘leaking’ from her body. She moves sleekly between street dance and the coy, flirtatious framing of showgirls, suggesting there isn’t much between our means of attracting potential mates,and that of animals… the display of peacocks; the purr of kittens.

Dick swinging and guns as phallic objects, to be deified rather than feared, are linked, and eyelashes no longer seem fragile, but just another commodity.One eye-watering scene explores climaxes using dummies.Ultimately, the sexes blur into one.

At a time when debates around gender fluid identities are becoming increasingly mainstreamed, Park’s provocation is a timely, funny and acutely honed piece of contemporary dance.

See the review here:  The Tempo House


Image by Jordan Anderson
Image by Jordan Anderson

Experts In Short Trousers at 'Hidden Door Festival' Review by Neil Cooper.

(30th March 2016)

**** The Herald.

Outside, the courtyard itself burst into a riot of noise and colour courtesy of Cultured Mongrel, whose children's show, Experts in Short Trousers, put its young audience at the centre of a strange world in which the five performers have just landed. Using nonsense language, acrobatics and beat-boxing, Cultured Mongrel's quintet of playful aliens gleefully ushered in a participatory celebration that captured the joyous spirit of Hidden Door itself. 

 

See the review here:  Herald Scotland


Image by Jordan Anderson
Image by Jordan Anderson

Experts In Short Trousers at 'Hidden Door Festival' Review by Becca Inglis.

(28th March 2016)

**** Tv Bomb

Hip hop-inspired dance company Cultured Mongrel are paying Hidden Door a visit in their tour of Experts in Short Trousers. The team have departed from their usual social commentary for adults to produce an interactive show for families and young children. The results are completely bonkers, but showcase expert devising from a very clever creative team. 

Aliens have crash-landed on Earth, and rely on their young audience to help them put their scattered stage back together. They communicate only in nonsense words and eccentric gestures, often breaking off from their task to interact with materials attached to Hidden Door’s Electric City Stage. The cast look completely spontaneous and inspired by their surroundings. The piece feels like real play-time, where anything can happen according to the whims of the players. The audience is repeatedly caught off-guard, but is delighted by the confusion.

Interactive theatre is a risk, especially one that relies so heavily on audience participation. Choreographer Emma Jayne Park’s skill really shines through when we see kids and grown-ups alike throw themselves into this production, returning the alien-version of the high-five and responding eagerly to babbled instructions. By the end of the piece we can almost understand what is being said to us, and we join in readily with the silly dance routines.

The kids love the performance and are put in the centre of the action. The show’s premise is that the cast appeals to knowledge that children already have (presumably how a typical play ought to look). This differs from other shows that aim to teach the children something. The kids are treated like the experts and encouraged to use their creativity to join in. At one point the adults are gently ushered off the stage so the children can play instruments, pride of place next to the actors. 

Experts in Short Trousers is a delightfully bemusing show delivered by warm and funny characters.  

 See the review here:  TV Bomb


Image by Conflux
Image by Conflux

 

#Trans at 'Pitch' Review by Gareth Vile

(13th March 2016)

 

 

Despite being presented as a 'scratch' performance (that is, an early stage work-in-progress) as parts of Conflux's Pitch evening, Emma Jayne Park's #Trans is remarkably polished, with a coherent format matching the content and a cheeky humour seasoning the serious issue of gender identity.  Supported by a smart introduction by Eilidh MacAskill, which offered Judith Butler's meditation on gender as a thing performed rather than an essential nature, Park's choreography questioned how movements and facial expressions establish the gender of an individual. 

 

Her head shaved, her clothing loose, Park flickered between male and female posturing. The male more aggressive, clutching the penis, grinning at the audience; the female flirtatious, initially intruding onto the male display with rapid, flirtatious glances. Building from these simple stereotypes, Park's choreography then evolves, transforming her into an androgynous entity, balancing the genders into a fluid movement vocabulary that at once recalls extremes of male and female behaviour and moulds them into a singular presentation of desire.

 

And desire is clearly on the mind of her character - swinging an arm like a distended cock, or play humping the air, or flirting with the front-row, her creation is sensual and sexually predatory: even the props (a selection of mannequins) are not safe from their attention. While certain gestures evoke one gender or another - she presents her covered breasts at one point - her performance insists on how even those postures strongly associated with the male or the female are simply learnt manners.

 

See the review here:  The Vile Blog