The One-on-One Festival is all about you.
In every nook and cranny at the Battersea Arts Centre, performances are
happening with only you in mind, intimate experiences for an audience of
one. It sounds like a daunting
prospect, to be the centre of so much artistic attention, but it’s not at
all. It’s a warm environment where
you are constantly taken care of and cradled (in some cases literally); there’s
nothing to be scared of here.
I get emotionally sucker punched right from the beginning
with the incomparable Smile Off Your Face by Ontroerend
Goed. Experienced for the most
part in complete darkness, your senses are pricked and your emotions teased into
extreme reactions ranging from joy to, in my case, tears. You feel soft hands and smell musky
cologne which lingers with you for hours, and when you are allowed to see, the
beauty and wit of the imagery is blinding. It may sound like hyperbole, but this transcendent piece more
than lives up to the buzz surrounding it.
Next up is poor old It’s Your Film by
Stan’s Café, which doesn’t stand a chance after the therapy I’ve just been
through. But it’s a clever
concept, a film performed just for you, and neatly done if a little slight. Natalie
L’Herroux sweetly invites me to clamber through a wardrobe in the aptly named Through
The Wardrobe, and I crawl through a tiny door into a room crammed
with clothes. She sprays me with
scent and we play dress up. I get to borrow the pretty pink scarf she feels
suits me for the rest of the day; it’s a simple but magical moment.
You Me Nothing, Franko B’s airy, minimalist
installation, allows me to kick off my shoes and have some much needed space
for reflection. Unless you allow yourself time around each of these potent
encounters to recover some equilibrium, the stains of the previous show impact
on the next.
Onto A Little Bit of a Beautiful Thing,
where the history of a gnarled beam of oak is charmingly explained to me by
Barnaby Stone. You get to take a little bit of it with you and I’m going to be
Before I know it I’m doing karaoke with some actually
pretty tuneful soldiers in Quarantine’s deeply enjoyable, The
Soldier’s Song, and speaking for one minute to a very cheerful Ed Rapley.I end the day by making a written vow in King's of England's I Vow to Thee My Country. It’s a
great way to finish because it feels, as this whole festival does, like an
important and vital thing to do.