There’s Something in my Shoes Review by Kathryn Barnes

Do you take wearing and walking in your shoes for granted?

‘There’s something in my shoes that gives me strength to begin a new day. They are unbreakable no matter where I go. Those shoes have a light that guides my way. Though I can’t always seek them I know I will be okay until I find them again,’ writes author Rose Lawson. A poignant statement, especially as she has never worn shoes. Rose Lawson lives with cerebral palsy. Working with choreographer Fiona Bryant, they have put together a creative performance of music, movement and dance.

Vandy’s Garage has changed over the years from a mechanic’s garage into a welcoming vintage coffee shop. As we entered the venue, we were given a shoe and mat of green grass, with its purpose a mystery. The shoe was placed on a table in a pile of odd shoes of different sizes and shapes.

The music began, inspired and layered by Rose’s text. Moving and beautiful, Fiona Bryant performed movement and dance around Rose, who joined, with composure in her wheelchair. The shoes were the focus, using them, moving with them and dancing to them. ‘Clapping’ was a rhythmic dance utilising a watering can – pouring water into a large clear vessel and splashing, signifying new growth and play. Rose’s face was filled with joy and her enthusiasm was unbounded and reflected through to the audience.

A scene with Fiona laid across Rose’s lap in the wheelchair, spinning around, was particularly moving. I imagined Rose carrying Fiona through her own challenges, supporting her. The meaning of a dance with cutlery being dropped into Rose’s lap and on to the floor was a little less tangible. The use of a smoke machine in some scenes in the performance was a good idea, but placed near the audience, some found its effects uncomfortable. At the end, the audience was asked to join in ‘Soft treading’ – the feeling of grass being placed under Rose’s bare feet with everyone in the room treading on their own grass mat and imagining this beautiful sensation.

With further development, this show has a lot of potential. Some of Rose’s talented writing and poetry interspersed and spoken in-between the dances would add another dimension to the show and would bring us closer to her thoughts.

Rose and Fiona have a wonderful positive collaboration which is enlightening and makes one think about the diversity of creativity and communication on all levels. Fiona and Rose have created a unique visionary performance and I look forward to seeing the next stage of this thought-provoking project.

There’s Something in my Shoes held performances at Vandy’s Garage at Buderim on 24-26 May and this show has now finished.

Kathryn Barnes