Working on My Night Moves by – Julia Croft & Nisha Madhan – Summerhall, Edinburgh
I am increasingly convinced that performance artist/theatre maker Julia Croft is a genius. Following unclassifiable shows that have somehow been impossible to forget – most recently Power Ballad – she returns to the Fringe with a show in which she spends a lot of time rearranging the furniture. In an auditorium that seems unprepared, she makes us watch her work. She moves ladders, sets up lighting and, gradually, suspends a stage full of utilitarian objects from the ceiling. In the midst of turning the world upside down, she creates moments of intense, weird magic from nothing, except a well-chosen prop or two. These include an unnerving dance, her head obscured by a cloud of black balloons, to ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’; a space walk, wrapped in foil, to the Killers, and some very odd moves dressed as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. Throughout, she is assisted by her sound woman, dressed identically, who helps with the heavy lifting.
The show is both oblique and direct. We cannot help being activities that, on paper, could scarcely be classified as theatre. They seem to reveal the prosaic reality of work and endeavour,and the overlaps between performance and life. There is also an underlying feminist meaning, the slog of women remaking the world laid out as a challenge. Working on My Night Moves is experimental, beautiful, strange, clever. It is the kind of theatre the Fringe, at its best, is all about.