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Oxymer \ Ilotopie \ Greenwich and Docklands International Festival 2010

July 4, 2010

Photo courtesy of CdL Creative:

Out on the water in Millwall Dock near to Canary Wharf, London, performers in blue tights and peroxide blonde wigs hoved into view on motorised boards. Giant Dali-esque creatures approached from a distance. A circus ringmaster seemingly walked across the water, occasionally plunging below the waterline only to miraculously reappear somewhere unexpected.

Oxymer – a outdoor performance by French production company Ilotopie, the conclusion of the 2010 Greenwich and Docklands International Festival – sought to show how environmental disasters have impacted on Utopias throughout time.

But were the finer points of the performance lost on the audience? Possibly. East End blogger Diamond Geezer reckoned it underwhelming after the first performance he attended the night before.

And yet, the estimated 500 strong audience remained committed throughout the show. Free entry doesn’t necessarily guarantee audience attention. The estimated 500 strong audience remained throughout the performance.

At a point in time when arts funding faces significant cuts, such promotion of the arts are to be cherished. Successfully making use of such spaces in thought provoking ways is bold. It’s also unusual. Daring to do things is what is important. And on that basis the investment in terms of time and energy required to mount such a festival should be heartily applauded.

:: Listen to this brief audioboo recorded before things kicked off:

:: After the show, I spoke to GDIF Artistic Director Bradley Hemmings and Ilotopie Director about the festival and the performance:

:: The photograph at the top of this blog post is included courtesy of CdL Creative: Don’t for God’s sake use it. That would be a bad thing.

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