Written and performed by Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan
Reviewer: Julia Beasley
Inclusivity has always been part of the process for performance company Lone Twin. The experimental duo, Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan, specialise in organising community theatre events and ensembles, bringing together other artists and, often, anyone who wants to join in. In past performance projects, they’ve cycled, walked, climbed Everest, made a boat, got the public up and dancing and speechifying in the street.
Last Act of Rebellion, part of the Dartington Live programme of performance and music, celebrates their 20 years of working together. Gary and Gregg approached this piece about time passing by writing to people they had worked with but hadn’t seen for 15-20 years, asking them what should be in the show. The result is an eclectic, surreal and peculiar performance about men getting older, but staying forever young and immature.
Each abstract performance piece is choreographed to a choice song from the period, such as Dylan, Springsteen or Low. Neither of this dynamic duo is a trained dancer, the result being a performance that is extremely funny and at times oddly gauche and vulnerable. As they explain to the audience, their point is that anyone can dance. We can all understand dance. All we have to do is not think, but just allow ourselves to be inside the performance.
The two men are both 46 years old and met at Dartington College of Arts, so are fittingly back on home turf. During a post-performance interview, they explain that Gregg was into performance writing and Gary studied visual performance. Since then, they’ve always worked together and somehow managed to stay fresh:
We each bring different things, and when we come together we make this third thing: the live performance. This latest project looks back and there is some melancholy, but we didn’t want it to be mawkish or self-referential. So it’s a collaborative process, working with other artists.
They speak almost as one and profess never to disagree:
We have an unusually close agreement as to what might be funny or sad and so on. We share a commitment to wanting the work to be open, sociable and understandable. Our drive is to entertain using humour. We’re saying to the audience, thanks for coming, here we all are, we’re all ok.
With a running time of less than 1 ½ hours, Last Act of Rebellion isn’t the longest evening of entertainment you might encounter in the south-west, but it’s certainly one of the most original. If you can, catch the creative twosome in the theatre, on the streets or at a festival and enjoy their divine brand of weirdness. Here’s to the next 20 years.
Reviewed on 7 April 2018 | Image: Contributed