Café Reason’s 10th  Diamond Night.   24th November 2012

Six different works covering dance, poetry, projection, live music, film and voice in Café Reason’s 10th Diamond Night  organised this time by Paola Esposito and Fabrizia Verrechia.  There was a good turn out for the cosy space of Oxford Brooke’s drama studio.  Good to see this support for new work.

The first piece by Anne Ryan was a short vignette in which a face peers out from a frame.  A soundtrack of recorded voice traces a range of emotions expressed in the subtle changing nuances of the framed face. Simple, elegant and strong.

The second piece was Inertia by myself -Ana Barbour – and Naomi Morris.  This also involved some changing facial expressions, this time accompanied by projected live pen marks expressing a shift from peaceful calm to agitation and destitution,  followed by interactions with and transformations of a big green rug.

Following this came a set of poems by Ayala Kingsley skilfully accompanied by Bruno Guastalla on cello and harmonium.  The richness of Ayala’s vocabulary, the playful observations and the range of moods is impressive.  This time we were treated to much more than a simple ‘reading’. It was also interesting to hear the background to the poems: in this case Ayala had grouped a set which had been inspired by the various stages and experiences of the research, preparation and performance of Café Reason’s production of Orpheus.  As an insider it was fascinating to me what poetic creativity the process had provoked.

After the interval and some stage rearranging came a film by Peter Jones.  This was one part of a series he has done on the elements.  Planning to show ‘water’ we were in fact treated to ‘air’.  Long, sometimes haunting shots of the effect of wind/air on branches, leaves, washing and clouds.  The slow motion effects together with the sound creating a mesmerising assemblage.

Next came MUEBruno Guastalla, Dariusz Dziala and Macarena Ortuzar.  In darkness we heard the cello while flashes of torchlight revealed the dancer in hat and high heeled boots as she travelled about the space in sometimes extreme poses – including the splits and her signature back bend.  Transitioning to the second section clothes were shed in the darkness, boots scattering in opposite directions and then the distorted and fascinating shadows cast on their screen as both dancer and torch bearer played with scale and movement. A sudden change of mood came with a prerecorded and edited version of their shadow play projected on the screen accompanied by ‘disco’ music.  A clean frame of projected light enabled more shadow play before the darkness returned and a torch mysteriously traced a slow and deliberate path down the screen.  Was it, wasn’t it? Yes, it was a blade cutting through the fabric.  The torchlight made its way through the split screen, Macarena’s feet finding the light and then the light tracing a journey up her concave body to finally seek out members of the audience.

The final piece in the show was by Anne Ryan.  As with her first piece this was an extract from her Gibrishes Songologue.  Inspired by the credit crunch it was a piece which combined amazing vocal dexterity, recorded and live with embodied movement and then a wonderful surprise of vocalised ‘lecture’ a humorous and incisive account of ‘quantitative easing’ and the capitalist system.  This was an accomplished piece and a great finish to a great evening.

Café Reason hold classes every Friday; for further information visit  Conceived by Jeannie Donald Mckim as an opportunity to ‘bring uncut performance gems to a wider audience’, Diamond Nights is aimed at offering outings for experimental work in a variety of mediums. Like most of the group’s productions Diamond Nights is organised collaboratively with one or two members taking the lead on any particular project.  This Diamond Nights was organised by Paola Esposito and Fabrizia Verrechia, with Bizia taking the floor as MC and Paola stepping in bravely and successfully to operate the lights and sound. We are grateful to Oxford Brookes for use of the drama studio.

Ana Barbour