For those that never got a chance to see The Lock In, the latest stage extravaganza from the Demon Barbers, you can now watch it on DVD which features a performance from Harrogate Theatre that was filmed earlier this year. The DVD is released by Safecracker Pictures who wear their Morris credentials very proudly having also released Morris: A Life with Bells On and The Way of the Morris.
Set in a fictious pub called The Fighting Cocks the story starts with a Hip-hop crew, one of whom comes across a pewter tankard which when rubbed results in a conjuring of spirits possibly alluding to the tradition of dance..what follows are a series of ‘dance-offs’ between hip-hop dancers on one side and morris dancers, cloggers and rapper sword dancers on the other. The turns taken between each side begin to slowly unveil unexpected similarities, the hip-hop dancing appears energetic alongside the initial casual clog dancing but by the turn of the rapper sides (rapper sword’s that is) and morris there is a noticeable build up in tension and excitement that translates really well on the DVD. The film can be enjoyed just as a performance but you will come away with a differnt view of Morris, clogging and rapper sword if this is your first eposure via the cutting edge performances of the Demon Barbers.
The competitive nature of the dance-offs serve as a reminder that the modern concept of ‘dance-offs’ has a history that goes way beyond the modern-day and back to rivalries between pit villages of North East England in the case of rapper sword dance competitions.
The dexterity of all the dancers in this show are nothing short of fantastic, the added modern twists of rapper swords being swapped for pool cues add that sense of drama and The Demon Barbers take their artform to the fringe giving it a far more dangerous and appealing edge. The show turns any pre-conceptions you may have on tradtional dance forms on its head something the Demon Barbers are experts in.
The show involves some audience participation and the DVD captures this well when Damien Barber sings Captain Ward. The band which includes Ben Griffith who also plays the token joker in drag Jasmine ‘The Betty’ puts on a fantastic performance providing plenty of laughs throughout whilst Bryony Griffith and Will Hampson put on an exhilarating cracking musical performance.
This is a sharp and slick show where the standards are high as well as groundbreaking in concept. The DVD features many extras including:
– Dance off at the Cumberland Arms
– Black Swan Rapper at DERT 2002
– Black Swan Fire dance at Sidmouth Int Folk Arts Fest 2003
– Highlights from the Tynmouth Station Jubilee performance
– Horace Panter and Stewart Lee interviews
It’s a must see!