Scottish Dance Theatre's production of Velvet Petal: Bedroom by Fleur Darkin was performed in the intimate theatre space of the Old Lab in Summerhall. It was a shortened, adapted version of the original which was performed in Mexico in 2016.
It describes itself as being inspired by the life cycle of the Monarch butterfly and Robert Mapplethorpe's polaroids. Being a fan of Mapplethorpe, I was particularly drawn to see this production.
The dancers move about the stage to Torben Lars Sylvest's arrangement of 'dance punk' tracks using minimal props of
whatever may be on hand in a bedroom; a mattress, clothes rail, various changes of clothes. If you manage to find room
on the side of the stage, there are pillows to sit on where you will be almost part of the action. Alternatively if you sit on the
front row, you may also find the dancers lying at your feet or entwined around them as they perform.
It is a lively, sensual show which both celebrates the joys of being beautiful and young and a lack of inhibitions in being
together. Bearing Mapplethorpe's life and images in mind though, it also conjures up an idea of vulnerability in youth.
The performers wear random selections of clothing, some only in underwear with others fully dressed. In the production,
they spend their time dressing and undressing whilst exploring each others bodies and their own identities. Highlights are
one dancer almost fumbling her way into a suit jacket which is hanging on the clothes rail and another undressing whilst
hiding her face behind a Mapplethorpe print.
This is an excellent taste of the full version which will be performed for one night at the Festival Theatre in September which I am looking forward to seeing
Summerhall (Venue 26)