Saturday, 4 July 2015

Chapter 84: Snapshots from Greenwich & Docklands International Festival: Collectif Malunés

The last time I was in Greenwich it was to set sail for an evening of romance and adventure, friendship, rebellion and betrayal. Dressing in an ivory satin shift, my wedding shoes and a carnival mask, I processed from the Cutty Sark with friends, sometimes in a wheelbarrow, through alleys and backwaters to a hidden Venice Preserv'd, the Spectator's Guild's immersive production of Thomas Otway's 17th Century play. Crowned the Maria of Il Carnevale by the Wheel of Fortune, I was happy to end up on stage kissing the Doje's ring (my very first tweeted pic), but the evening ended in spectacular tragedy.

This time round I was back for an altogether happier affair. On Saturday I was at a wedding, the most relaxed, romantic evening of meadow flowers and gypsy-philia, as the bride called it, and bunting woven of memories. The following morning I returned to catch up with the newly weds at the Maritime Museum for a family brunch. En route, I was reminded flicking  through Instagram feed that there was plenty of circus happening at the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival around the corner, a ten day extravaganza of outdoor performing arts. Maybe I would stop by later, I tweeted a virtual friend who I'd almost come across at Canvas (see Chapter 75), and @ohayeceline's guidance not only led me there but meant we finally met in person too.

First up was Belgium-based Collectif Malunés who so gratifyingly captured the spirit of the festival, as neatly summed up by Celine: 

The topsy-turvy universe of "Sens Dessus Dessous" was a head rush. I enjoyed the music from the whimsical "Elisabeth devant sa garde-robe" to a track about immigration and alienation. Their skill was exceptional: hand-balancing, turns on teeterboard and acrobatics had me uttering expletives in French through clenched teeth (I don't know how to swear in English!). There was clowning around with a basket of apples, a unicycle to sweep them up, when not employed as a banjo, choreographed chaos and much to laugh about. The breath-taking finale of a striptease on trapeze, ropes blending in with the clipper's rigging, had me wondering what my Edwardian grandfather, the last man to sail the Cutty Sark in to dock, would have made of it all. I think he'd have made them walk the plank. For their next trick, obviously...

Events are still going on today and tomorrow (4 & 5 July) at Greenwich and Docklands International Festival  - see - click here.

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