Edinburgh Fringe Review: Prodigious

This “dance-only musical” explores the life of an easily-led teenager in the drug-fuelled clubbing scene of the 90s. Created by Lite Fantastic, a company of student dancers from London colleges, it features high-energy performances of naïve choreography.

It is admirable to attempt narrative dance, a concept rarely seen outside the ballet world and Matthew Bourne’s inimitable contemporary works, but a clear storyline needs to be threaded through the movement. With white masks and flashing gum guards representing drug culture, the basic idea here is clear, but details of the main characters’ relationships remain frustratingly vague.

One of the show’s two choreographers, Liam Francis, stated: “I tried to immerse the dancers in the emotion of the choreography – telling them to be really in love with each other. But I didn’t instruct them to go home and masturbate like in the film Black Swan! For me, although the technicality is important, the performance is the priority. If that’s sincere, everything else falls into place.”

Indeed the dancers’ level of expression was pleasing, with especially heartfelt emotion from our leading lady. But choreography was too weak to allow dancers to fully shine and street dance handstands and backflips make it impossible not to compare this with performances by other far-superior dance troupes such as Flawless and Diversity.

Prodigious is an interesting work with moments of inspiration, but it doesn’t make a lasting impression.

*** 3/5 stars

Prodigious is playing at C venues at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival until 27th August. For more information and tickets, see the Edinburgh Fringe Festival website.