Reviews F.L.O.W. 2009 Dublin/Edinburgh

ART-MAGAZINE 'OH FRANCIS', 14 Sept

Fringe 2 in 1 shows offer festival goers the opportunity to see unique musical
and theatrical pairings as part of the same ticket. Tonight, Smock Alley played
host to a 2 in 1 show featuring Neel de Jong, making her ABSOLUT FRINGE
debut with F.L.O.W. and French singer-songwriter perrine de morceaux
performing as Essais Emission.

F.L.O.W. (Fabulous, Lucky, Outrageous World) begins with Neel de Jong
seated on the floor beneath a single soft red light bulb. de Jong is dressed
as if she is in her dressing room, having just walked off stage to a standing
ovation. However, we soon learn that our protagonist is a fading star;
having shone so brightly beneath the lights of stage and screen, she is now
faced with twin demons of isolation and fear. 

What is unique about de Jong’s character is that she is very aware of her
demise. We are, perhaps, her final audience and so there is no need for bravado
now. Instead we witness a human being, stripped bare, and searching for
solace at the bottom of a bottle and in the company of strangers. Yet, despite
knowing that her time has passed, and warning her audience of the pitfalls
of fame, one senses throughout F.L.O.W. that de Jong’s character is so
addicted to fame that, given the choice, she would live her life the same
way again. In this performance, the audience are not only asked to take
a closer look at the true price of fame, but F.L.O.W., through powerful
writing and intricate choreography, also demands we examine the very
fabric of the human psyche. You leave this beautifully paced production
wondering if it really is acceptable to place people on pedestals before
casually discarding them just because there are countless numbers of people
willing to accept that position.

Overall, this particular Fringe 2 in 1 represented not just excellent value for
money but also showed that, with a little creative curation, it is possible to
combine two seemingly disparate performances in a distinctive and enjoyable way.

Review F.L.O.W 2009 Edinburgh

MARY BRENNAN, (The Herald), 18 Aug ****

'Okay folks - let's hear it for the renegades, the eccentrics, the freespirited talents that
cluster under the banner of dance and physical theatre, but are really looking to make
work that transcends boundaries. Without them, the Fringe would lose some of the
magical serendipity that leaves audiences feeling - knowing - that they've witnessed
something different and special that has possibly changed their outlook forever more'.

I have no idea if the Neel de Jong show you should try to see, will be the same F.L.O.W.
(****)
I watched last week at Bedlam. Chances are de Jong herself doesn't know,
because her whole being - and her whole being pours into her on-stage performance -
acts as a litmus, or a chameleon, in response to the world as she sees it at any given
moment. Her interests just now seem to focus on the small things, the simple things
that can only be appreciated if you take time to stop, stare and play. Consciously
reconnecting with the wonder you felt as a child, de Jong has an exquisite capacity
for radiating just such a sense of beguiled, beaming pleasure and amazement. Like
any form of meditation - and really, this is at the heart of what de Jong offers - it
demands that you focus on what is being said and shown. Otherwise the ragbag
assortment of actions, the little paper boats and white balloons, will arrive like bits
of forgotten debris that de Jong has rummaged from her costume (and memory's)
pockets. Fabulous. Lucky. Outrageous. World. F.L.O.W. Go with it, and you'll come
out smiling - even the rain and the roadworks won't seem so grim.

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F.L.O.W., made and performed in 2009 at Edinburgh and Dublin Fringe Festival