Where to begin with a brilliant show like We Are Ian?
This UK-based performance is truly one-of-a-kind, pumping you up to party while also providing plenty of substance(s) within the theatrical message.
Revisiting the late eighties of Manchester, England, we are taken on a journey of a now-middle-aged Ian, reflecting on his time within the ecstasy-driven rave movement for those who needed it most.
The working-class. The typical Mancunian. The forgotten.
Ian is cleverly represented by a solitary light bulb that flickers each time he talks, with our three young female performers hanging on every word. It is then, through intense dance and pumping tunes, that the magnificent trio recreates the sense of elation that defined the acid house scene of the time.
The uninhibited nature of the dance floor.
It was here that people like Ian found a sense of unbridled belonging; it wasn’t just about getting ‘wankered’.
In an era where the elite further extended the social and political divide, it was the youth—of which Ian was one—that found a collective sense of worth in illegal raves and banding together against the establishment.
It was their answer to all the bulls**t that kept them down.
However, Ian’s story goes well beyond the culture remedying these times of hardship. We Are Ian delves into the inequalities that are still at play, as our nostalgic light bulb reflects on the sense of unity that is seemingly lost.
So, in this day and age, where will our generation find its ‘spark’—so to speak?
We’d all like to know.
Although there are a number of poignant moments, it needs to be understood that this show really is a crazy amount of fun all throughout. Our troupe of overall-wearing ravers is astonishingly accurate when illustrating how a face might look after taking ‘brown biscuits’ on a night out; their accompanying dance moves equally complementing the unstoppable energy.
We Are Ian’s unique dynamic of a ‘party show with a message’ is unlikely to be matched by any Fringe act. It is no surprise that it is an international award winner and a newly bestowed ‘Best Theatre’ for week two of the Adelaide Fringe Festival.
While there might be a couple of nuanced references to UK life that go over our Aussie heads, this show is utterly impeccable in its delivery.
We Are Ian is an undeniable ‘must see’ and an absolute bargain for its ticket.
★★★★★ 5/5 stars
We Are Ian is playing in Parasol Lounge at Gluttony until the 18th March. Tickets available online or at The Fringe Box Office.