The Hiccup Project, a new theatre and dance company founded by real-life best friends Cristina MacKerron and Chess Dillon-Reams, brought their debut piece May-we-go-round? to the Exeter Phoenix last Tuesday. Cristina and Chess first met at school and growing up together they have experienced everything from first loves to heartbreaks. After finding an old diary recording Chess’s love life from when they were 10 years old, they decided to create a piece that addressed these highs and lows and everything in between.
Having both trained at Northern School of Contemporary Dance, it is evident that both of their backgrounds and their specialities reside in dance. They catapult themselves onto the stage with such an energy that can only be compared to that of an excited tween, and maintain that level throughout the piece. They twist, turn and manipulate their bodies into positions I didn’t know were humanly possible. They use dance as a medium for ‘physicalizing’ those feelings that are just too hard to describe. Whether it’s your first crush, a broken heart or an unbelievable orgasm, May-we-go-round? provided the perfect routine for it. Adding in several classic tunes we were presented with moments that were representative of scenes from every Romcom ever created. My personal favourites were Common People – Pulp for its imaginative way of portraying of sex and Walk of Life – Dire Straits, purely for reminding me that the song existed. I haven’t stopped listening to it since.
Whilst these moments were indisputable, the rest of the piece was a little confusing. I am unsure as to whether there was a narrative to follow throughout or if we were merely present with a series of performed situations and memories. Every time I felt comfortable that we were following one pattern, it would switch to the opposite and vice versa. Jumping to and fro this way made the piece difficult to follow at times, and I found myself losing concentration. Additionally, I was also confused as to when the audience were being addressed or not. This may have been due to the size of the venue, and the lack of audience members filling the space though. Had this been performed at the Bike Shed, in a more intimate and responsive space, we may have been spared a few awkward encounters.
With The Hiccup Project gracing Exeter with their presence for one night only, it’s a shame that more people didn’t attend. This energetic, inventive and most importantly, fun show is a testament to MacKerron and Dillon-Reams’ talent, dedication and friendship. With the concluding message that no matter how upsetting/repetitive/tragic our love lives may be, our friends will always have our backs, the piece relates to anyone of any age. Paired with hilarious dance sequences, touching moments of friendship and high energy throughout it was a thoroughly enjoyable show.
The Hiccup Project have one final performance for this year at Mumford Theate, Anglia Ruskin University. You can buy tickets or find out more here: http://thehiccupproject.com/ All photos used are from this website.