Review: World premiere in Doncaster of powerful Gary Clarke dance show, Wasteland

If you think modern dance is elitist and abstract, the current premiere of Wasteland at Cast in Doncaster is the opposite – it's a raw, powerful account of mining communities ripped apart by the destruction of their industry, and how the younger generation moved on.

By Julia Armstrong
Thursday, 16 May, 2019, 10:29
Gary Clarke's new dance show Wasteland looks at the destruction of the mining industry and the 1990s rave culture that took the industrial wasteland

Wasteland was created by Grimethorpe’s Gary Clarke, a follow-up to Coal, his celebration of mining communities and the 1984-5 strike.

Ten years on and a redundant miner (Alastair Goldsmith) drinks the day away, lost without the camaraderie of work.

A group of real ex-pitmen (local to each venue on the show’s tour) sing an elegy, accompanied here by two members of Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band.

His son (Tom David Dunn) and mates hang about with nothing to do, playing around on old supermarket trolleys and an abandoned easy chair. Dad and son clash, then the love between them resurfaces movingly.

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The lad gets involved in rave culture, finding an exciting new way to use the industrial wasteland and a tribe of his own. Then the police and Tories step in again.

The resistance of the youth is cleverly symbolised by artist Jimmy Cauty’s iconic smiley face riot shields.

Maybe the rave section is too long but this is an extraordinary show with excellent performances and clever staging, mixing in video and voiceover to help set the scene.

Catch Wasteland on Thursday, May 16 at Cast, Doncaster and at Barnsley Civic on June 6-8.???????????????????????????? It then goes on tour: more details at wastelandtour.co.uk