All in One Basket

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“A colourful and varied evening of non-stop entertainment… You must catch the next one!”

Richard Pilgrim has reviewed Hatch: One for the new Nottingham Visual Arts site.

Read the article by clicking here, or see the full text of the review after the jump.

(Photo by Jon Rouston)

Hatch promotes itself as ‘Nottingham’s newest performance-y platform’, and there’s something about this strap-line that worries me. I get the feeling that Hatch’s founders – director and filmmaker Nathan Miller and playwright and artist Michael Pinchbeck – are almost offering us some kind of apologia for its existence; as if they were slightly worried that we (the audience) would be put off by the inflexibility of the word “performance”. They need not worry. Hatch is about performance and yes, although quite a bit of it is participatory (i.e. sometimes we can’t just watch; we have to take part), the contributors offer performances that are truly meant to entrance, beguile, inspire, intrigue and enlighten – and no apology for that is needed.

To celebrate one year since Hatch’s launch, Tuesday night’s offering was based on the theme of ‘one’. The work was meant to deal with “… one-ness, or lasts one minute, or is experienced by one person at a time; for one night only; one of a kind; one to remember.” As an evening of entertainment, it certainly did not disappoint.

In what is probably its most salubrious venue yet – The Ropewalk at Canning Circus – we were welcomed into an ambiance that was both calm and yet paradoxically vibrant. As usual with a Hatch event, many of the performances take place concurrently; and some hold our attention in the more formal arena of the stage (ha! there is very little about a Hatch event that is formal; that is its beauty). The demi-monde of Nottingham’s artistic followers milled around the various performance spaces – everywhere you looked there was something fascinating going on. Was that just a lonely girl, jilted by her boyfriend, sitting on the sofa by the window? No, it was Emily Smallwood inviting you to join her and to share your most intimate secrets on tape with her, before giving you a warm hug and a whispered reassurance.

There were the Shrug Ladies – adorned in identical black dresses with red-and-white polka-dot collars – with whom you could sit and share a piece of Alice-in-Wonderland cake. You could talk to them, but you needn’t expect a reply because all they were able to do was – well, shrug. Annie Parry was the ‘Accidental Animator‘ who was creating a live animation film from 365 frames; shots of members of the audience playing a game on a blackboard. To take part in this was almost like being wrapped inside a surreal dream.

Upstairs, there was standing-room only to watch Daniel Somerville perform ‘First Piano Concerto’ which was an enthralling and sometimes frightening dance routine that rooted out our fear of being alone (of being ‘one’). Daniel performed this act completely naked, which was not only incredibly brave of him – given the proximity of the audience – but also very adroit, because his nakedness seemed also to expose us all.

It’s almost impossible to catch every act at a Hatch event – so crammed with delicious visual delights is the evening – but I can’t forget to mention Michael Pinchbeck’sThe Long and Winding Road‘ where an audience of one sits with Michael in his car and is treated to the story of its moving and poignant history. I’ve been that audience myself, and I can tell you that it’s an emotional but beautiful ride.

And finally, there was Natalie Duncan – a keyboard player and soul singer, looking resplendent in her off-the-shoulder pink dress, and entertaining us with a terrific musical act. I confess to being a bit confused with regard to the ‘oneness’ as Natalie was accompanied by woodwind players and a cellist – but it didn’t matter because they were all fabulous.

A colourful and varied evening of non-stop entertainment. To use the word ‘eclectic’ is perhaps a bit of a cliché, but that’s exactly what the evening was. Maybe I should crave your indulgence slightly, and call it a truly eclectic-y evening. You must catch the next one!

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