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Here Comes Trouble – Blue Elephant Theatre, London

Performer and Choreographer: Keira Martin
Director: Charlotte Vincent
Reviewer: Richard Maguire

Here Comes Trouble certainly lives up to its name in this short unsettling performance by Keira Martin. She’s trouble because in a world of order and pigeonholes, she resists categorisation: she’s trouble and she troubles.

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The piece itself also avoids easy classification as it blends Irish dancing, live art, song and spoken word. It’s a burden she takes on willingly as she begins the performance by pushing onto the stage a big wooden chest, and then removing from it, a microphone and stand, and a loop box fixed to echo every sound she makes. She smiles nervously, but open-heartedly, to the audience and we root for her immediately, and aptly this piece is all about roots. Living in Yorkshire, but also having Irish and Jamaican heritage, people always ask Martin ‘Where are you from?’ Her origins cause the trouble here.

Scottish poet Jackie Kay has also been asked the same question as she, too, is of mixed heritage. In her poem In My Country she offers her answer to this repeated question: ‘Where do you come from?/ ‘Here,’ I said, ‘Here. These parts.’’ Keira Martin’s response to the question is just as lyrical as she dances triumphantly upon her chest, and, then later, upon fresh soil.

This search for identity is not always celebratory and the performance contains some dark and upsetting scenes, which are framed ominously by Huw Williams’ simple, but effective, light design. The original music, composed by Jamie Roberts, switches effortlessly from Irish jigs to melancholy airs and fully complements Martin’s movement across the stage. Despite these troubling scenes we know we are, once more, in safe hands when she again flashes her wide grin to the audience.

With this engagement, Martin makes sure that we, too, are on this odyssey. So successful is this personal touch that once when she asked the rhetorical question ‘where are you from?’ a man from the audience piped up ‘Amsterdam.’ There were a few other times in the performance where the audience wonders whether it should break the fourth wall, and while perhaps Martin might want to make boundaries tighter in the future, the confusion adds to the anxious drama playing on stage.

This is an energetic and emotional 50 minutes as Martin, with the soil at her feet, answers the question of where she is from. Barnsley? Ireland? Jamaica? She can’t decide because she’s indivisible; she’s from here, a sum of these parts. This Blue Elephant show was a preview for Edinburgh, and if this is a journey you are taking, Here Comes Trouble should be at top of your list of things to see.

Reviewed on 27 July 2017 | Image: Keira Theatre

Performer and Choreographer: Keira Martin Director: Charlotte Vincent Reviewer: Richard Maguire Here Comes Trouble certainly lives up to its name in this short unsettling performance by Keira Martin. She’s trouble because in a world of order and pigeonholes, she resists categorisation: she’s trouble and she troubles. The piece itself also avoids easy classification as it blends Irish dancing, live art, song and spoken word. It’s a burden she takes on willingly as she begins the performance by pushing onto the stage a big wooden chest, and then removing from it, a microphone and stand, and a loop box fixed to…

Review Overview

The Reviews Hub Score

Energetic and emotional

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The Reviews Hub - London
The Reviews Hub London is under the editorship of John Roberts.The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.