Review: One-on-One Festival – BAC – ****

Given a chilli rating of 2 it’s a perfect middle ground between mouth watering ‘Challenging’ (a smoking hot 3 chillies) and ‘Reflective’ (a cooling 1 ½) and it proves to suit my mood perfectly.

Along with the main course and two side dishes, your menu card gently advises you to take on some one-on-one challenges; ‘Phone someone you love and tell them something you’ve never told them before’ (I do but that’s another story) or ‘Find a stranger and ask them what their greatest wish is’ (I don’t, did I mention about feeling shy?).

As people mingle in the bar, corridors and hallways there is a very gentile atmosphere hanging in the air. If last year’s One-on-One Festival was a rough and ready house party, in 2011 it has transformed into a rather more sophisticated soiree; that is apart from the sporadic kidnappings or sumo wrestling with fat suits no less. But for all this charming silliness it definitely feels much more ordered in the Battersea Arts Centre this year which (whilst it makes me pine a bit for the chaotic joyous ‘fit to burst’ feel of 2010) is no bad thing, with less waiting time and yummy tapas on tap.

My evening begins with And the Birds Fell From the Sky by Il Pixel Rosso. I sit in Dupain’s Office surrounded by debris, flyers and paper whilst a TV on its side crackles away with stories of pigeons and pandemics. It’s all rather confusing but stick with it, once your eyesight is taken away and you’re hearing what they want you to hear it all makes much more sense, promise. In the next room you are given goggles through which you see a film of a caper in which you are the protagonist. It’s beautifully shot, with production values that David Lynch would be proud. Through earphones a soothing if disquieting narrator walks you through a world of cackling clowns. It’s an oddly touching experience, if not completely encompassing. You are aware of both this world and your own but it’s a testimony to Il Pixel Rosso that for a moment at the end, you want to stay in theirs.

I’m completely entranced by Lundahl & Seitl however who’s Rotating in a Room of Images is one of the most ghostly theatrical happenings I’ve ever experienced. The Woman In Black eat your heart out.  There’s an otherworldliness to the performers of Lundahl & Seitl that seems effortless. If there’s a natural rhythm to the world, they seem to have found the space in between each beat, moving permanently in these invisible time signatures. As you are taken through half lit rooms and pitch black corridors they float and hover around you, teasing and leading like fairies or ghouls. A tiny voice full of authority echoes in your ear, a confidant and manipulator. When at the end the door is closed on you, you feel both relieved and bereft.

Finally, and as delightful as any pudding should be, is Where the Wild Things Sleep. Wriggling out from under Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s story The Campinglis Bell-Halls have created a gorgeous 10 minute indulgence and to speak of it more than that would be to do it a disservice. Go along and be transported. The luminous Gemma Brockis is Max, and she’s so adorable you just want to eat her up, which is quite apt really. The Campinglis Bell-Halls have somehow managed to create a door to a time when make-believe was real and the simplest things were the most magical. Where the Wild Things Sleep is a completely sweet treat, and just one of many to be savoured in this One-on-One box of delights.

Ended on 9th April.

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