BY MORAG PHILLIPS
[star rating = 5/5]
Phillipe Saire is a Lausanne based choreographer and has created over 30 productions in a long and productive career. In Hocus Pocus, along with his talented team and two very strong dancers, he proves his ability to enter a child’s mind.
I joined a busy audience of parents and their children on a Saturday afternoon. All of us unsure what to expect but, the children knew. “Magic”, the curly headed younger audience member in next seat assured me. Hocus Pocus, meant magic!
As the auditorium light began to dim it felt like a warm dark blanket had enveloped us. All that was visible was the two strips of light at top and bottom of a black frame.
Music came quietly, as a clicking and clanking in the distance; just as we wondered if this was all we would see, a disembodied hand followed by an arm wafted towards us from within the inky blackness, turned sideways and disappeared. There was an intake of breath, and when a foot appeared, rotated then intertwined with a returning arm, we found ourselves drawn in: We wanted to follow.
After a short display of body parts coming through the dark, interacting with each other. There is a pause; we were then introduced to the eirie but slightly comedic faces of the two dancers looming out to stare at us, as if we were the spectacle. I waited for some children to react, scared, but instead they there was a gentle giggle reverberated round the auditorium.
The story that emerges is of Victor and Lucas. They tease and wrestle with each other, they explore, they test their bravery. Each time becoming more confident and inquisitive. They draw us into their world of Make Believe. When a monster manifests itself from the darkness, they join together to fight. At this point I very much felt I was experiencing a contemporary version of Punch and Judy as they pummeled the poor creature into oblivion. That got lots of laughs.
The next 40 minutes were surreal. The adventure takes them up in the air, finding out they can fly, down into the water, into a dark abyss where they see wonderous creatures and play with sea anenomes.
With clever use of light and different perspectives and the use of simple props to create illusions, Phillipe Saire and his team have produced a delightful, engaging and magical spectacle for kids and adults to enjoy.