REVIEW: Fool’s Moon: Dance Plague @ Bosco Spiegeltent

May 27, 2024

Review: Fool’s Moon: Dance Plague – A Curious Cure-All for Your Theatrical Ills

Brighton Fringe should always amaze and befuddle. Enter Fool’s Moon: Dance Plague, a show that promises to plunge us into the madness of Strasbourg’s 1518 dance mania. Featuring a main trio of dancer narrators ; Paulina Lenoir, Lachlan Wernerm & Laurie Luxe this production was a hit-and-miss affair that left me scratching my head more than once. Let’s delve into this bizarre bacchanal.

To start, Fool’s Moon: Dance Plague had all the makings of a sophisticated dance school end-of-term comedy show. And no, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The performers were committed and the audience was positively generous with their applause. The show’s premise—examining the inexplicable dance plague through a blend of clowning and dance—was intriguing, even if the execution occasionally felt hollow.

We were treated to an array of clowning styles, from the slapstick to the surreal. For the most part, this eclectic mix was enjoyable. There’s nothing like a bit of well-timed absurdity to keep things lively. However, a couple of performers seemed to have missed the memo about keeping the pace snappy. Their slow, ponderous antics dragged the show down just when it needed a burst of energy. It’s like they were being very serious about being a clown, moving in treacle instead of tapping into the frenetic energy of a true trembling plague.

The narrative—or should I say, the nebulous string of scenes pretending to be a narrative—was the show’s Achilles’ heel. The historical backdrop of the 1518 dance plague is ripe for exploration, but the story here was thinner than a drag queen’s patience with polyester. Instead of a cohesive thread, we were handed a series of vignettes that felt disjointed. Yes, it’s an endearing kind of chaos, with the Dancing Trio keeping a lively pace when ever they were on stage,  but gentle chaos nonetheless.

And those serious clowning segments? Darlings, while I appreciate a good contemplative moment as much as the next theatre aficionado, these stretches of earnestness were more snooze-inducing than side-splitting. The balance between high-concept dance and comedic interludes wasn’t quite right, leaving us in a strange limbo where neither element fully shone.

Visually, the show is often spectacle, using the small Bosco stage to it’s full opportunities. The costumes and lighting were top-notch, creating a dreamlike atmosphere that was almost enough to distract from the weaker points of the performance. Almost. The production team certainly knows how to craft a visually arresting scene, even if the narrative falls short.

More info on Fools Moon cabaret here

In conclusion, Fool’s Moon: Dance Plague is a peculiar piece of theatre that teeters on the edge of brilliance and befuddlement. It’s a mostly enjoyable romp with moments of absurd charm, hampered by a sluggish pace from some performers and a narrative as weak as a vegan at an all-you-can-eat steakhouse.

If you’re in the mood for something strange and earnest with flashes of humor, give it a whirl. Just temper your expectations and be prepared for a bit of a bumpy ride.

Check out the rest of the Weekend of Weird line up from Brighton Spiegeltent here.