Best of BE Festival (Birmingham)

After another successful summer, the Birmingham European festival commences a short UK tour showcasing the Best of the BE Festival

BE Festival
BE Festival

This event showcases three audience favourites from July's Birmingham Eurpoean Festival, and it's easy to see why these particular pieces proved so popular.

First, French trio Betti Combo demonstrate the astonishing range of feats that can be performed using just a pole and fifteen white plastic buckets. The performers are dexterous, precise and fluid in their movements, transitioning seamlessly from slow and cautious to frantic and energetic. What they do with the buckets is ingenious – from juggling to tennis, circus tricks to pole dancing. There are some genuinely breathtaking moments and a lot of laughs along the way.

This is followed by Hungarian choreographer Ferenc Fehérʼs dark and intense Tao Te. Using harsh spotlights to create ominous shadows, one minute the performers are fighting aggressively against each other, the next moving smoothly together like an industrial machine. The electronic soundscape, with its metallic droning, pulsating dance beats, melodic chords and primitive drumming, creates an immersive sense of foreboding unease throughout.

The final piece is a heartwarming narrative of childhood adventures and human connection, brought lovingly to life through a variety of props, physical movement, sound effects and 1980s pop music. Denmark's Ivan Hansen is the perfect narrator, drawing us into his world through wide blue eyes filled with innocence, wonder and childlike enthusiasm.

All three performances are exceptionally good in their own right; together, they are a fantastic showcase for the breadth and quality of the BE Festival. With a tasty dinner and Nordic schnapps also included in the package, it is difficult to imagine a more enjoyable and rewarding night out.

– Alexandra Taylor