Review- FOLK-S: Will you still love me tomorrow?- Hong Kong Arts Festival


By: Lizzi Wood-Vashishtha


FOLK-S uses the typical Bavarian and Tyrolean folk dance 'Schuhplattler'. The show description explains that this 'involves striking palms against thighs, legs and shoes, creating percussive sounds and rhythms'. I formed an idea in my minds eye that this might be reminiscent of a show like 'Stomp' and was excited to see the folk dance twist. I was wrong. Very wrong. 

The show begins with the audience entering whilst the performers are already on stage performing a basic rhythm with their feet. Once everyone was seated the lights signal the performers to begin and they slowly start to add to the rhythm they have already created. Although somewhat reminiscent of a drama warm up game that I'm sure many of us have played, it was actually really interesting and engaging to see how the movement and rhythm built up. 
Anyone with the faintest idea of theatre etiquette knows that you wait until the end of a performance before leaving; so when, after the first section of the performance, one of the performers announces that the show will continue until there are no audience left or there is only one performer left, I felt in somewhat of a conundrum. Were they really going to continue performing until there were no audience members? I had visions of still politely sitting there at midnight. 
Numerous times I thought that I would like to leave, especially when there were plenty of others around me doing so, but I didn't want to leave just before the 'good bit' and miss it. Simultaneously I didn't want to stay and waste my time if there wasn't going to be a climax. I was glad that I did stay until the performers started to dwindle and there was an actual end. The nod towards romance in the show description was finally played out and, although brief, was a beautiful moment - a really nice touch. 
During the show, which uses variants of the same short movement sequence, I pondered whether anything would change or if it would continue with the same movement and pace throughout. For much of the show the movement stays the same with slight variations in pace and moments of stillness before reconvening and starting again. The main change in movement dynamic was the intricate floor plan and movement patterns the performers follow. The performers manage to cover a huge space in what seems to be just a few steps and all the while maintain to stay in sync with each other. Despite the programme detailing that the performance is more about the rhythm than the movement I felt that a large part of the middle of the show lacked climax and needed some change in the monotony to keep my interest. 
I was a little bit disappointed with the music. It was mentioned in the show description giving the impression that there would be a great variety of music from Classical through to Electro and Hip Hop. I was expecting to be wowed by the performers' rhythms complementing and counterpointing that of the music. The music was sparsely played and one tune in particular knocked the performers out of sync with each other which was a real shame because I was really rooting for them to remain strong together. 
The lighting was obviously meticulously planned. Although, on the whole, I was unable to fathom a relationship between the performance and the lighting, I particularly enjoyed a section in which the performers stood in a circle and a chase effect from the light in each corner of the stage produced the illusion of movement despite the performers' stillness.
The performers were undeniably fantastic dancers with great presence and amazingly notable stamina. They performed consistently and with high energy throughout; their thighs and palms red and swollen after only a short time. Although, none of them were slight in build they all danced nimbly and, when the dynamic required, they were able to make their movements appear light and soundless.
Overall, it was an interesting performance but not one that I would want to see again. Although, judging by the faces and applause from those remaining at the end of the performance there were a fair number of people that thoroughly enjoyed it. 

FOLK-S is playing through February 26th. For more information, click here.


Rate This Show: 1 2 3 4 5 Audience Rating: ---


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