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  •  REVIEW: WET BLUE & FRIENDS

    "Wet" are you laughing at?

    Clare Byrne's "Wet Blue and Friends" brings a little fun back to dance with comical characters and unrestrained abandonment to the music.

    By ALEXANDRA BELLER
    Offoffoff.com

    (Originally reviewed in June 2002 at Dixon Place.)

    Clare Byrne's witty, irreverent "Wet Blue and Friends" is a welcome relief from a recent onslaught of angst-ridden modern dance in New York City. Byrne reminds us that dance can be entertaining even as if provides poignant images and profundity. Random, asymmetrical images and a variety of water sounds (from Chinese water torture to a toilet flushing) nuzzled together with unpretentious finesse.

      
    WET BLUE & FRIENDS
    Choreography by: Clare Byrne.
    Dancers: Clare Byrne, Donna Bouthiller, Theresa Palazzo, Sarah Carlson, Ruben Ortiz.
     SCHEDULE
    University Settlement
    184 Eldridge Street
    Fringe Festival 2002, Aug. 9-25, 2002

     RELATED ARTICLES
    Fringe Festival 2002

    • Show listings

    Theater
    • All American Boy
    • Beat
    • Confessions of an Art School Model
    • Deviant
    • The Joys of Sex
    • Living London
    • Naked Girls Drinking
    • Out to Lunch
    • Portrait of a President
    • Refugees
    • Resa Fantastiskt Mystisk
    • Room to Swing an Axe
    • Sajjil
    • Star
    • Seeing Each Other
    • Up Your Rabbit Hole
    • The Welcoming Committee

    Dance
    • ASPIC
    • Stalking Christopher Walken
    • Wet Blue and Friends

    Other Fringe Festivals
    • Fringe 2000
    • Fringe 2001
    The lights came up on a trio of women (Byrne along with Donna Bouthiller and Theresa Palazzo) arranged on a makeshift city bus. As Aretha Franklin's "Trouble in Mind" got our feet tapping, Byrne surrendered to the beat, enacting the urban dweller's secret fantasy: an over-the-top rock-out to the music. Her "backup dancers," who strutted around like the Supremes on psychotropic drugs, were charming against Bryne's voluptuous dancing.

    I usually find music visualization (where there is a movement for every note of the music) trite or facile. However, the quality of the dancing in this evening was rich and frought with meaning. Byrne moves like a marionette who has tamed her own strings. Her impish innocence lent a sense of hunger to every moment without cessation. By the time the first half ended (with a surprising cameo by Nicholas Leichter), I was rooting for her to win, even if I didn't know what she was after.

    The second half brought her dancers (including a charismatic Sarah Carlson and Ruben Ortiz) into play more, but the work still seemed to be driven by Byrne's character. In a rugged duet with Ortiz, who infused his character with fertile depth, the questions started to get asked more clearly: how do two people come together without dissolving? How do we live as individuals in a world created for groups? How do we find our own meaning in the midst of random rules? In her delightful closing image, three women were sprawled on blow-up inner tubes as the sound of water drifted through the theater. As the women floated away from us, they seemed to have found their answers.

    JUNE 10, 2002
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



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