November 1st, 2009

theatre, muppets

Please consult your physician before any type of folk dancing is undertaken

So, Morris a Life with Bells on finally found its way inside the M25 and so I finally saw it with a big group of Blackheath/Dacre/Greenwich people after doing a few dances outside the cinema.

One of the best things about Morris Dancing is how open it is to ridicule. There's something very special about the "OMG! Morris Dancers" reaction you can get from an unsuspecting crowd. The film plays on this to hilarious ends.

The plot centres around Derecq Twist, a Dorset tractor mechanic who's life revolves around Morris Dancing and his run ins with the Morris Circle for going against the traditions.

As with all comedy, it wouldn't be anywhere near as funny if there wasn't an ounce of truth in it. Although, there are a lot of open-minded welcoming individuals within the morris world, there is also a lot of pretentiousness as you get with anything "traditional", and this just makes a complete mockery of it and traditional social organisations as a whole. There was something very masonic about the portrayal of morris dancing in the film, which just went to emphasise this.

To top it all off, they even had a Cambridge professor of folk dancing analysing the goings on in very academic way at various points in the film. The fact she reminded me of one of the tutors I met while I was there, just made it all the more funny.

It was good to see Wild Hunt's cameo, even if the fame does appear to have gone to their heads a bit recently.

However, the highlight of the film has to be the performance by Orange County Morris, which is a brilliantly funny combination of traditional and modern dance.

Overall, it's somewhat like Spinal Tap, but with sticks and hankies. Well worth seeing.