THE BEST OF THE REST of the Delft Fringe Festival 2019

Mackor De Muynck with their show Sfessania, Dancing to Madness

We saw many of the performances we fancied in the first half of the Festival so the final few days were a sort of mopping up operation.

I liked Mackor De Muynck with their show Sfessania, Dancing to Madness. Inspired by the series of 17th century prints, Balli de Sfessania by Jacques Callot, it explores the magical powers of the tarantella.

And I loved the rather eccentric location – a rusty old lock-up garage in the shadow of Delfts’s tallest industrial monument – the giant chimney at the southern tip of the town. The building, if you can call it that, seemed to be used as a garden shed and was full of ladders, tools, bags of soil and other garden detritus.  In consideration, I imagine, for the show a scruffy blue carpet had been laid and an assortment of chairs arranged. The performers, three girls and a guy, were all wearing masks – the girls simple lace eye masks, he with an elaborate long-nosed black Venetian one.

The basically Baroque music was excellent with the mysterious Julian Sarmiento on double bass, Mári Mákó creating atmospheric electronic sounds and Matthea de Muynck on violin. I say basically Baroque because it did veer off quite a bit at the end when it became more electronic and discordant.

The fourth performer was dancer Christina Karagianni. I’m not sure who was accompanying who but I suspect young Christina was very grateful for the carpet as she spent most of her time lying on it. I am not a great subscriber to the prevailing rolling-on-the-floor style of choreography but overall this was a well-conceived and nicely executed performance which I enjoyed.

We saw Byemedak by Debora Regoli and Mayke van Veldhuizen at OPEN, which is in fact Delft’s main library complex. This performance also involved a great deal of rolling on the floor and was, I must confess, not really my cup of tea.  The event was not helped by being performed in a bland, lifeless corner of the library’s children’s section.

I also wasn’t keen, for the same reasons, on Micro, yet another movement-based performance, this time by Buro Nieuw Perspectief. It took place in, and was inspired by the lovely Micro Theater for which I am developing a certain fondness. After we had all taken our seats in the upstairs auditorium we were told to go back downstairs to the bar/café where the two dancers writhed and wriggled among the tables, slithered up the stairs and went in and out of doors, occasionally accompanied by musicians on violin, clarinet and cello. For me the high-spot was when an elderly gentleman with a walking stick, obviously unable to keep up with the rest of the audience, slowly descended into the show sitting on the invalid stair lift. If I was Buro Nieuw Perspectief I would keep it in. After the performance, we stayed on for the next show to listen to the excellent Steel Sheep again.

As we said the other day, it’s good to see the kids were not forgotten at the Delft Fringe Festival. What is not so good is that there were so many of them. We tried three times to see the magician Dion at the Rietveld Theater over the weekend only to be turned away each time because it was sold out. Not so good for us but very good for the kids – and Dion I suppose.    Michael Hasted/Astrid Burchardt   10th June 2019

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