Swing is a comedy about dancing”. Fishamble’s international hit refreshingly explores the nature of dance comically through the eyes of a different art form, reminding the dancers and dance enthusiasts among us of the true values of movement. Not a perfectly aligned arabesque, but communication, escapism and fun.

The play begins suddenly and humorously, as the double act (Arthur Riordan and Gene Rooney) enter through the audience, asking spectators “is this Swing?” subsequently unloading their bike helmets and bags onto the stage from their supposed commutes. This opening sets the tone for whole production, as throughout the performance the actors involve and directly address the audience. In their roles as the larger than life hosts of a Swing Dance society, they welcome the audience with black humour – “we’re all swingers here!” – and perform demonstrations of humorous dance steps, including monkey walks and “fish bums.” This use of direct address is engaging and transforms audience members from their status as theatre-goers in the Oxford Playhouse, to attendees of a swing dance class in an unspecified area of the Republic of Ireland. (more…)

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