Brighton Magazine

The Brighton Magazine

Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Wednesday 22 May 2019

Brighton Festival 2019 Review: TrapTown @ Brighton Dome

The Brighton Magazine's Brighton Festival reviewer Simon Turner was lucky enough to capture a one-off performance of TrapTown, at Brighton Dome Concert Hall, last night (21/05/19).

Credit: Wim Vandekeybus

TrapTown is a full-on multimedia production conceived and executed by Gijs Wim Vandekeybus, an internationally renowned choreographer from Belgium whose previous critically acclaimed works include Blush in 2002 and more recently in Oedipus/bêt noir in 2011, works where he first demonstrated his fascination for the universal nature of age-old myths. 

His work is ably executed by the twelve strong and energetic contemporary dance company Ultima Vez, who have worked with him since 1986. 

The set (a mixture of on-stage and projection) was designed by architect duo Gijs Van Vaerenbergh.

And multimedia it is… 'kitchen sink' comes to mind. 

There are so many elements thrown in here: full on dance (of course), story telling, singing/songwriting, rock and electronic music, film, spoken word, sinkholes, audience interaction, footballs and of course, rabbits. 

But what is it about? It's hard to be precise. A mayor rules over a town of two peoples. One produces milk and the other makes honey. One is more successful and subjugates the other, but in the most modern liberal way where at first to an outsider they might appear equal. 

The action is split between a full stage black and white projection and the main stage. 

Screen content alternates between a dark underground warren and dystopian maze where the townsfolk seem to live, missives from the mayor (Jerry Killick) mostly concerning death and his son (a female dancer) and a woman singer accompanied by a guitar… whose relevance continued to elude me.

On the stage Ultima Vez shone. The dancing was energetic, expressive and very skillful, and a joy to behold. 

The dancers also doubled as orators and, for me at least, this did not work, it was awkward and I had trouble understanding what was being said.

The music, an original musical score by Trixie Whitley and Phoenician Drive, was a little strange. 

It started (and ended) promisingly with electronics but most was performed on an electric guitar using deliberately malformed 70s sounding riffs. 

Sadly, it kept pulling me away from the visual action.

At 1hr 45mins with no break the piece seemed a little long but still I enjoyed it, even if I did leave wondering how much of the story had passed me by. 

The rabbits and the mayor's propensity to turn into an eagle completely baffled me.

All in all I'd like to have seen a lot more dancing and more of the shape-shifting interaction between the dancers and the projection. 

Saying that, I'd definitely go and see another production by Wim Vandekeybus and Ultima Vez if they visit our city again.

Brighton Festival 2019 continues until Sunday 26th May 2019. For more info CLICK HERE.

by: Simon Turner


Roy Hudd takes us on an oral journey from his beginnings in music hall to his upcoming starring role in Oscar Wilde's A Woman of No Importance, at Theatre Royal Brighton.

South African choreographer Dada Masilo's Giselle - which plays at Brighton Dome, this October - brings the ballet into the 21st century. The Soweto-born choreographer and dancer has taken the classic favourite and thoroughly shaken it up so audiences can anticipate the unexpected.

With a childhood spent foraging and learning to make flapjacks and nettle soup, followed by a life of touring as a musician around the world and delighting in the delicious local delicacies discovered along the way, a love for food and cooking has always been central to Cerys Matthews' life. 

It was two years ago that the then Brighton Festival Guest Director Kate Tempest played a secret gig in the city and performed an exclusive rendition of her unreleased new album, The Book Of Traps & Lessons.
Credit Chris Nash

With this autumn tour called Final Edition the The Richard Alston Dance Company will embark on its farewell tour, giving one final opportunity for a Brighton audience to see a live performance by what is undoubtedly one of the world's best dance ensembles.

A campaign & fund raiser is up-and-running to place a permanent rainbow crossing on St James Street, Kemp Town, Brighton.

Genre-blending artist, multi-instrumentalist and producer Gazel has skillfully concocted an original theme that runs through her forthcoming debut album, Book Of Souls.
Credit Onneke Northcote-Green

Art lovers from far and wide will descend on East Sussex in the coming weeks as Artwave, the annual free arts festival, welcomes thousands of people into private homes, studios, galleries and workshops.

Mystery Jets' new single, Screwdriver - taken from their forthcoming sixth studio album, A Billion Heartbeats -  is an uncompromising look at the rise of the rebranded alt-right in the UK, built around a powerfully positive message: "Fight them with love / then the world will be ours".

Femme Fatale, the imagined meeting between activist Valerie Solanas and singer Nico, asks what might have happened if two female visionaries with very different methods had locked horns. 
Credit Miles Davies Photography

Director Claire Lewis brings this lovely adaptation of George Eliot's classic doorstop novel, The Mill on the Floss, to life at the Brighton Little Theatre with gusto. 
Credit Darren Bell

Jason Donovan is about to take his first steps in the role of producer, when the new production of Priscilla Queen of the Desert visits Theatre Royal Brighton, later this year.
Credit Andrew Whitton 2019

"Our last gig of the world tour was September 2018, in Brooklyn - I was done, had written no songs, nothing new, I thought I felt like quitting for a while," says Stereophonics frontman, Kelly Jones.

One Eyed Jacks was Spear of Destiny's second release on the major label Epic Records. For many original fans this is the band's seminal album.

Archive search

Search our archives for what's on and gone for the best of this city's theatre music comedy news and much more...

Organising a conference or event in Brighton?
See our Brighton Conference section.
Brighton web design by ...ntd