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REVIEW: 'One On One Festival' by James Cowan



I am at peace. I have been sung to, played with, directed, bound and blindfolded, seduced, bathed, embraced, fed, and hung upside down out of a first floor window. I am at peace.

This is what can be expected from an afternoon or evening spent at the BAC during the exciting and often challenging 'One on One' festival over the next week.


This is not your average theatre festival, on booking each audition member or perhaps participant is a better word is given the option of have a highly capable and welcoming BAC team tailoring a personalised journey for them that will transform and break down many personal and social barriers. It ain’t for the faint hearted!

On arrival I was presented with my dance card of experiences including Ed Rapley's 'The Face Game', 'Quarantine: The Soldiers Song', Patrick Killoran's 'Observation Deck', Rotozaza's 'Etiquette' (Some time to explore, refresh, and reflect), Ontoerrend Goed's 'The Smile Off Your Face', and finally Adrian Howell's 'The Pleasure Of Being: Feeding, Holding, Washing'. Understandably at the end of all this I was spent; mentally, physically and emotionally. I repeat I was at peace.

A normal dance card holds 3 performances so with this in mind I decided to recommend to you Rioters my top 3:

1) Observation Deck - now to some this may sound frighteningly extreme, however, Killoran has taken the up most care to ensure safety at all times and offers a truly unique view of our beautiful city and the exterior architecture of the BAC manor. You lie on sturdy structure and then slide yourself so that your head and shoulders are sticking out of the window. Now if you are a sufferer of vertigo, I suggest this is enough, however, for the more daring of you I suggest realigning yourself to hang your head over the edge and witness the hanging city above a field of snow white clouds and watch as the pedestrian tempt gravity to walk on the topsy-turvy roads of the city above. It was truly an amazing experience.



2) The Smile Off Your Face - this piece is an attack on the senses. On arrival you are bound by the hands, blindfolded in to complete darkness, and sat in a wheelchair. By doing so you sacrifice all decisions at the door and are then led on an intense, provocative and brutally honest journey. I will not disclose the details of this journey but suffice to say that with the removal of your vision, your mind creates the world you cohabit with the Ontoerrend Goed team. They make full use of sound and touch which left me feeling lost and then eventually found. I felt akin to a sacrificial lamb to the ancient God's of Love and War. It was a faultless, beautiful experience.

3) The Pleasure Of Being: Feeding, Holding, Washing - This is perhaps the most controversial piece to be shown at the One on One festival. It is on everyone's lips inside the building and has even been discussed recently on Radio 4. Without wishing to disclose too much information I basically had to get completely naked and let a complete stranger bathe me and dry me. I felt like a King. This experience despite the hype is not difficult or sexual but pure and innocent. My one qualm was that whilst being embraced after my bath, Howell chose to offer me white chocolate. I felt the use of such food sexualised an otherwise transformative experience.



These are my suggestions, however, to do all three in an afternoon may prove too much for some. The remaining performances I participated in were fun, enlightening and again unique. The One On One Festival provided me with an afternoon I will not forget, and left me changed and at peace.

Enjoy it while you can...

J x