There are some shows that are purely Fringe. The kind of thing you wouldn’t see anywhere else. WE ARE IAN is one of those shows.
Let’s start off by establishing that it is strange. Ian is a 47-year-old former DJ. But in WE ARE IAN he is also a talking lightbulb in the centre of a dimly lit stage. He starts telling us, and three white-clad young women, about how great the 80s were. A heyday of raves, clubs and rebellion.
With lit up shoes and deliciously familiar house beats, the show combines strategic lighting concepts with dance to create a history of rave culture.
Soon the audience is ordered to “please stand” by the screen behind the performers.
Before you know it you’re dancing. Whether you want to or not. A compulsion reflected in the demeanor and facial expressions of the three performers. You must dance.
Later the women discover “biscuits”. With masterful dramatic tension and tragi-comedic timing the loosely formed story that follows is one of joy, drugs, rebellion and a government that would crush the youth.
Some might see parallels between the history of the rave scene and experience of the current Millennial generation. The young performers experience joy, vulnerability and finally, after a frantic, pulse-racing dance-off, complete exhaustion.
For others though, this may just be too strange. Being told to take and eat digestive biscuits may not be everyone’s late night entertainment. Finding emotional solace in repetitive beats and movements may be a bit odd for your average Sunday night.
But this is Fringe. And there’s a place for everyone.
On the night I attended the entire audience joined the dance off for the final scene. And, sure it was strange. But it was also solace. Take a group of friends and enjoy a midweek dance party, even if it’s just for an hour.