Conceived in a dream, by Artistic Director Roy Hutchins, Bear North is a utopian vision about bears and beavers, buffalos and wolves. An other-worldly show that is whimsical, comic and at times extremely moving. It emerged, first, from a song, the simplest song about fish, jumping, meeting, flying and dancing. Followed by another, this time about a Bear. Being trapped in a cave with a Bear, ‘What are you gunna do?’. Then, there was a song about a log cabin, ‘Hey everyone theres a log cabin, this log cabin is yours, its for you, come join us.’ Like all of Brainfruit’s previous shows, unclassifiable too.
In the early stages, Mike Mckeoun shaped the songs, putting them to his raucous blues style. Then the talents of fiddle player Sue Bradley augmented and changed them and made those sounds more sophisticated. Guitarist Vasco Menezes with his pin point harmonies and clever riffs gave the picture full landscape.
At the heart of the show, there are the dancers. First the Dancing Bear, magnificently realised by prop maker Jackie Edgar. Then, a little later, Bears playmate ‘Wolf’. The creative on the show was gradual, responding to dreams, thoughts and feelings; a fricticious town emerged, Deep Water Point, population 794, and all of the wonderful characters that inhabit this very special place. A run at the Brighton Fringe, confirmed that this show had legs, or rather paws. And then, the search and development, quite literally ‘field work’ established that another home for this piece of performance playfulness is, on the street, playing to everyone. The dancers bring their skills to the floor, dancing to the infectious music. First, Thomas Mckeon, then Freya Simpson and laterally Mike Turner, all of whom bring their interpretation of the kinetic world of Bear, Wolf and their surrounds.