Writer & Director: Rachel Ní Bhraonáin
MOSH is a fascinating exploration of a niche subculture through the medium of spoken word and dance. The concept of a mosh pit is familiar to most people, whether as a mysterious moving mass at a concert, a group of people acting insane, or something that you enjoy partaking in yourself, it is a well-known feature of the music scene, but Rachel Ní Bhraonáin’s MOSH allows for a look behind the curtain and into the heart of the experience, telling the story of why people want to place themselves in a crush of other bodies and what it means to them.
The upstairs space in the Project Arts Centre is a wonderful venue for this piece; the stage is low and close to the audience and Robyn Byrne’s choreography fills the space beautifully. It is quite a sparse set from Ellen Kirk, but it feels very natural to the piece, with great use of scaffolding to set the scene but also allowing for some interesting moments in the choreography. Sound and lighting are extremely important in this piece and used to great effect. On the way into the show the audience is offered sets of ear plugs to offset the volume of the music (a welcome gift) because it does get loud, but in a way that feels integral to understanding the atmosphere. Joe Love has composed some great headbangers, and he and Richard Durning make a talented band to the left of the stage. The use of recorded clips of real people from the scene speaking about their experiences is perfection and lends credibility and depth to the show. John Gunning’s lighting design is also a heavy hitter in creating atmosphere in this piece, with some well-placed strobe lighting towards the end of the show that transforms the choreography into something else entirely. The cast of Jack Bain, Emily Kilkenny Roddy, Alex O’Neill, Ben Sullivan, and Toon Theunissen are well suited to the piece, Kirk has them looking like real members of the scene and they each are talented dancers who play their distinct roles with charisma and an incredible energy, the piece is extremely physically demanding by the looks of it.
MOSH is a very accomplished piece in two ways; the choreography is beautiful and engaging and interesting and conveys a range of emotions and moods – there is a lot of humour in the piece which is unexpected, but alongside this is the warm and loving spotlight that shines on a subculture, teasing out the many and varied personal and communal reasons for its existence. One can’t help but feel that many people in the audience leave the show wanting to engage in that subculture in some way, whether through actually partaking in it or simply by examining it, by thinking about how it would feel to be within it and viewing it with a new understanding of the intimacy and collectivity that is involved. A fantastic show.
Runs until 17th September 2023.