Friday 9th March 2018 at Harrogate Theatre.
BE Festival is billed as ‘Birmingham’s genre-bending European arts festival’ and The Best of BE Festival which is currently touring the UK features the top three voted-for shows from the BE Festival. The festival requires performers to restrict their pieces to no more than 30 minutes, paving the way for a great value Best Of tour which features three performances in one night. This year, those top three shows are Romain Teule’s Légende, Robin Boon Dale’s What Does Stuff Do? and Kulunka Teatro’s André and Dorine. The first two are very avant-garde and entertainingly curious while the final performance is an excellent full mask show offering a more reassuringly recognisable narrative and meaning.
I’m not sure if this set-up is available across the tour, but for the Harrogate date I attended, it was arranged for the audience (who had selected the ticket option) to tootle along to a local eatery (Graveley’s) after the first two performances for a 30 minute feast before returning to the theatre for the final performance. Another perk offered on this evening was a brief talk with the performers at the end of the evening – although the unusual food break and post-show discussion extended the evening to around 10.45, later than most shows finish, it was certainly worth it for the extras provided.
My reviews for each performance can be found below but overall, I’m giving the evening 4 stars; it’s an evening out of the ordinary which promises unusual and diverse new works – the quality and content varies across the performances showcased, but it’s most definitely a worthwhile evening and I’ll certainly be back again next year. My only frustration is the lack of programme; while the one man shows list names of performers clearly in the season brochure, the three hander had no names of the performers available in the marketing. I’d also like to have access to the names of all the creatives involved in the creation of the pieces in order to give full credit where it is due – I hope this will be rectified next year!
Reviews of this year’s performances can be found here:
The Best of BE Festival continues to tour and you can find more information and ticket links here.