by Jane Howard, 28th February 2015

Barefoot, on a sweep of salt spread across the stage, Olwen Fouéré whispers the words of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake into a microphone.

She screams words, she sings words, she jumps and skips and plays with words. Her voice goes low and deep and her voice-box fries as she draws out the vowels. It catches, repeating syllables again and again, a scratched record struggling to move on in song. Her voice rises with questions and falls with sadness. She captures Joyce’s characters, but always returns to his river.

Adapted, directed and performed by Fouéré, with co-direction by Kellie Hughes, Riverrun is language performed as contemporary dance. Fouéré both skims and dives deep into Joyce’s text of English and imagined words; she demands absolute attention for paragraphs and then lets her audience’s mind drift away to capture only outlines of patterns.

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