I Will Embrace You @ Dance Base
Last year Ian Smith managed to bag a nomination for best male performance from the Critics' Awards for Theatre Scotland. A veteran of Live Art circles, it is unsurprising for him to be in the running with the big boys of the National Theatre, except that his performance lasted only ten minutes. Smith can make every second count.
I Will Embrace You is equally short, and does exactly what it says on the tin. Since he is better known as director of Mischief La Bas, who hit the streets with a mix of Live Art and old school vaudeville humour, Smith's new found love of intimate theatre is another twist in a career that has seen him embrace radical circus, street interventions and hosting the National Review of Live Art. Being hugged by Smith is a tremulous, enveloping experience: a raw and profound moment in the superficial mania of the Fringe.
There's more than just a man handing out hugs beautiful enough to make you envy family members who get this hot male action on a regular basis. Setting the scene with music and a sparse set, Smith slowly dresses, a reverse burlesque, with infinite melancholy. Singing along to a previously undiscovered David Bowie track, his charisma is shrouded in an undefined misery and the final embrace is undisappointingly firm and serious.
Mischief La Bas have the mission to "gently warp the underlay of the fabric of society". Here, Smith warps the usual shocking confrontion of theatre that breaks the fourth wall and creates a moment of quiet compassion that expresses the essence of communication through performance.
Dance Base until 20 Aug 2011, 6.30pm- 8pm (every 7 minutes)http://home.dancebase.co.uk/