Thursday, July 26, 2012

KC Fringe "Time Doctor and the Dances of Time" review by kellyluck

The Doctor Dances
Rating: 3

Time Doctor and the Dances of Time
KC Fringe Festival

"Time Doctor and the Dances of Time" wants you to know it's noting to do with any time-traveling aliens you may or may not be thinking of. Nosieree. For one thing, the Doctor never utters word one, leaving all the talk to his companion (no cast given, but she seemed to be a senior teacher at the City in Motion School of Dance, which produced this show). You can tell he's the Doctor, though, by his scarf. And his sweatsuit (wait...what?) Ostensibly, the plot revolves around aliens coming to earth to explore various modes of dance throughout. At one point the Doctor is kidnapped by the Cosmic Lords, and the Companion must rush after him in the ARTIST to rescue hm, watching displays of dance, drumming, and martial arts along the way.

Make no mistake. Any storyline presented is really little more than an excuse to flip back and forth between the three or so troupes from the school to perform their stuff. It is a themed recital, in fact. The groups consist of an Eastern dance group, a set of drummers with a trio of dancers to accompany them, and various martial artists. Each of these takes the stage in turn, performing various dances or movements.

As far as the performances themselves go, it is a bit of a mixed bag. The Eastern dance troupe is easily the highlight of the show, with some outstanding dances and costuming. A couple of the dancers--the instructors, if I would have to guess--are particularly graceful and light on their feet. The drummers kept their beats quite well, while the accompanying dancers seemed to have a bit of difficulty in that area (one dancer seemed to be about a half-beat off for the better part of a routine). The martial arts displays were generally interesting, again with varying levels of ability on display.

All in all, it is more or less the sort of recital where students perform for their family, who are appropriately appreciative. This is all about the music and dance... which rather begs the question, why bother with the Not-Doctor-WHO conceit at all? The story, such as it is, adds nothing to the proceedings. It is simply a device to move from one thing to another. Every time another number began, she would disappear into the ARTIST and we'd be treated to another solid chunk of the TV theme while we stared at the blank stage and waited for the show to start again. The thing is, if they just came out and said "and now such-and-so with their next dance," and got on with it, we honestly wouldn't mind a bit. Dancing is what we came for.

At the end of the show, the whole cast assembles on stage, and invites the audience down to join them in dancing. It was an interesting move, and seemed to cheer the audience no end. Overall, it was an interesting recital, with some good dancing and fairly good martial arts on display that is only weighed down by the story. Lose that, and it becomes a lot lighter, a lot smoother, and ultimately a more satisfying experience for all.

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