Monday, July 23, 2012

KC Fringe "Dada is Dead" review by kellyluck

DADA: If you have to ask...
Rating: 4

Dada is Dead/Long Live DADA!
KC Fringe Festival

Coming up from the ravaged scraps of World War One, a group of artists, poets and intellectuals took a good look at the world of reason. They saw what it had wrought: machines of destruction, death on the industrial plan. They decided that  if this is where sense and cold logic got them, they wanted no part of it. And Dada was born.

"DADA is Dead (Long live DADA)" is a performance retrospective, a "best-of", if you will. Ian R Crawford & Vincent Wagner have brought together soem of the more critical personalities and moments in the history of the movement, and put them all on one stage in a noisy, boisterous, at turns angry, silly, gut-grinding gleeful mindslam of a performance. We are taken through the early days of Caberet Voltaire, through the world of sound poetry, the angry, confrontational tides of manifestos and declarations, and the eventual flare-out and death of the movement.

A company of six performers take us through the paces, guiding us from point to point. Dada pieces are not known for their singalong simplicity, but the cast handles the material ably. It is an breakneck blitzkrieg of words and sounds, ideas as pure emotion. One comes out exhausted but exhilarated, a cold shower for the mind.

It must be noted that it is probably not everyone's cup of tea. The Dada movement was deliberately nonsensical, deliberately confrontational. This is not kick-back-and-relax theatre. This is not lighthearted fare. This is art therapy for a lost generation. This is catharsis in the wake of destruction. This is DADA.

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