SO Festival director says shows succeeded in reflecting ‘ups and downs’ in communities

It's just a game - but the artists are Wanted by eVenti Verticali . ANL-180309-110017001
It's just a game - but the artists are Wanted by eVenti Verticali . ANL-180309-110017001

The artistic director of the SO Festival, Jens Frimann Hansen says he feels the weekend succeeded in challenging the way people think about where they live and holiday.

Hundreds of spectators made their way to the north end of the promenade on Saturday night for the UK premier performance of the cops and robbers stunt show Wanted by eVenti Verticali - a challenge for the director in itself.

He's behind you - one of the robbers in the cops and robbers stunt show Wanted by eVenti Verticali takes a member of the audience by surprise. Photo: John Aron. ANL-180309-105841001

He's behind you - one of the robbers in the cops and robbers stunt show Wanted by eVenti Verticali takes a member of the audience by surprise. Photo: John Aron. ANL-180309-105841001

As darkness fell after a blistering return of summer during the day, the audience gathered around an outdoor cinema screen at the back of the Sea View Road car park.

While they waited for the show to start the ‘robbers’ - Luca and Andrea Piallini - took the crowd by surprise by creeping up behind them.

However, the film that was shown to set the scene while they got into place high above the screen had a couple of our Facebook Live viewers asking ‘what on earth?’ - or words to that effect - with a few members of the audience leaving even before the acrobatics started.

But those who did brave the sea breezes were treated to a performance inspired by comics and video games, where two artists were tossed around between spy-story scenes and acrobatic combats. The cops and robbers chase took them on a Mission Impossible adventure around the earth, into a fantasy world of Pac Man labyrinths and Super Mario, under the sea and out of this world.

Challenging minds -  Wanted by eVenti Verticali took its audience on a journey into the imagination. Phoro: John Aron ANL-180309-110040001

Challenging minds - Wanted by eVenti Verticali took its audience on a journey into the imagination. Phoro: John Aron ANL-180309-110040001

Local SO Festival fans Liz and Robert Stone were in the audience with their friend Judy Reed. As we waited for the start they chatted about previous years - listing last year’s drummers as one of their highlights.

The show did lose a good few people half-way through but Robert said afterwards: “It was entertaining. It reminded me of a Pet Shop Boys’ video - you’re never quite sure what you are watching, but you enjoy it.”

Earlier in the day, the Murphy Effect by 1 Watt left shoppers in Lumley Road wondering what was going on, with performers climbing on phone boxes, chasing cars including the Coastguard and pretending to be a mannequin.

Robert said he just happened to be in Lumley Road when the performance started.

On the run high above Skegness in Wanted by eVenti Verticali. Photo: John Aron. ANL-180309-110028001

On the run high above Skegness in Wanted by eVenti Verticali. Photo: John Aron. ANL-180309-110028001

He said: “This man climbed under the railing and started doing gorilla actions in the road. I thought at first he’d fallen out of one of the pubs. I didn’t realise he was part of the entertainment.”

Mr Hansen, of respected Danish Arts House Helsingør Teater was directing SO Festival for the first time – alongside organisers, Magna Vitae Trust for Leisure and Culture. More than 60 continental and UK performances took place in Mablethorpe and Skegness over the weekend,

He said: “I was thrilled that we had very large audiences at almost every event.

“Our desire for this festival was to bring a distinctly European flavour which not only entertained but sought to represent the different aspects of our communities by reflecting the ‘ups and downs’ that exist in every society.

“By seeing the artists inject these themes into their work, we hoped to encourage and spark debate about the future of the area as a whole, and I believe we achieved that extremely well.

“As an outsider it has been a great privilege for me to engage with the people of Lincolnshire and beyond, and an honour to be part of such a great festival.”