Bange Rick (4+)
Two daredevils and one scaredy-cat join forces in the dance performance for young audiences Bange Rick by SALLY Dansgezelschap Maastricht, which premiered during the Nederlandse Dansdagen on 3 October at AINSI.
The title of the piece, Bange Rick, is a play on the word ‘bangerik’, or ‘scaredy-cat’, but can also be read as Scared Rick, the protagonist. Rick (Giorgio Lepelblad), dressed in a green shirt, chances upon a series of huge metallic constructions (set design by Janco van Barneveld) made with metal pipes, wheels and pulleys. His first response is a mixture of excitement and anxiety, which is something every parent can probably relate to. The constructions look exciting but also highly precarious, as if they could fall apart at the touch. Which some of them, inevitably, do.
Two other boys enter the fray, ostensibly the architects of these complex structures. While the boy in red (Pedro Ricardo Henry) is obviously happy with the added company, the boy in yellow (Luis Ricardo Pedraza Cedrón) is not pleased with the – minor – destruction Rick has inadvertently wrought, and even chases him with a piece of piping.
This scene – and one later on where the two other boys turn into masked boogeymen – may prove to be a bit too hardcore for the youngest children in the audience (the show is advertised as 4+, although this may be slightly optimistic). Thankfully, the conflict is soon resolved and the three enter into a truce, and start constructing and playing together. At one point, Rick pretends one of the constructions is a horse, which the boy in red mounts. These are the parts that work best: where the three boys turn even the simplest objects into creative playthings.
Quickly, a pattern emerges. As soon as a game turns even a little bit wild, Rick cries off. When his anxiety goes up, an ominous drone can be heard (the score is by Wouter Gulikers and Stefan Ernst; Ernst also choreographed the piece), and the lights (Eelke Slooten) turn a darker shade of blue. Usually, the boy in red manages to turn things around.
It is always a challenge to review a show that is obviously not primarily made with an adult audience in mind. Still, I do feel that with the chosen solution to Rick’s recurring bouts of mind-numbing anxiety – Just do it! – the performance may have taken the easy way out. There seems to be no middle ground. No matter the risk of the diverse challenges the boys dream up, the two daredevils always pull it off. No one tumbles, no one stumbles, whereas these are also an important part of growing up. And why not throw a girl into the mix as well? Surely it is not only boys who like to be daring and construct things with wheels and levers?