DanceFeaturedLive StreamOnlineReview

Handbag at Home – Online

Reviewer – Dominic Corr

Creator: Geraldine Pilgrim

What finer way to celebrate the notion of, well, celebration? There’s the obvious; a party, a meal, but really there’s no finer way than allowing your body to move to the rhythms of an iconic tune, throwing down your cares, oh and your handbag, and dancing right there in whatever room you happen to be in.

As the men and partners tidy from the previous evening’s festivities, across over fifty empty rooms, a beat begins to emerge from the nothingness. In the centre – alone, dreaming away, a solitary woman taps with the rhythm of David Bowie’s sound-of-an-era Let’s Dance. Gradually, women throw down their handbags of varying colours, sizes, lengths, and designs to simply cut loose as the music flows. Some can dance, some truly cannot, but it doesn’t matter. In the present climate, no one needs a reason to want to open themselves up and feel free. As the intensity of the track builds, as does the dancing, growing wilder as more and more women join the virtual party from their personal spaces.

As the music ebbs, as do the participants, but where’s the fun for the cleaner-uppers? Briefly, curiosity takes hold as the men notice a bag or two, hear the strums of It’s Raining Men, but this dance is saved for the ladies. Winding down, the video pans to hundreds of more rooms, filled with movement and merriment as collectively we dance together as one. There’s a tad too much going on at any one time, which warrants a re-viewing to catch all of the dance moves and videos, but the question of replay value is low.

Artistic Director Geraldine Pilgrim has been crafting evocative and site-specific performances for over two decades, collaborating with a diverse range of people, particularly the young, the old, community based and those involved with arts. With theatres and performance spaces remaining closed to the public, Geraldine Pilgrim Performance Company and Mountview London present Handbag at Home directly into our homes, emphasising the joy of Handbag, which has been performed live in arts centres, bars, streets, village halls and a women’s prison – so why not directly from home?

Compact, precise, and filled with lashings of energy – Handbag at Home is a simplistic expression of shaking off the blues, and that occasionally we just have to put down the bag, shake off the day and listen to the late, great, Bowie, whether it be in your lounge, your bathroom, the bus-stop or a garden.

Available here to stream until June 2021

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