Anniki Alku’s review in Savon Sanomat 28th of June 2018
translated into English
Kuopio Dance Festival has usually mainly focused on performances for adult audiences. That is why it is very good that this year, Glims & Gloms’ JAM – Mr Hillo’s Confusion is in the festival’s programme. The performance for the whole family premiered last autumn.
If the name sounds funny and absurd, so is the performance. Simo Heiskanen, one of the two founders of the theatre, created the choreography and composed the music for JAM. It is wistfully humorous and progresses using the logic of association. It is the story of a Chaplin-like hobo, Mr. Hillo (”jam”). He carries all his belongings and memories with him in a pile of suitcases that contain everything from flowers to a big top.
When Hillo’s most precious treasures, Esmeralda, Vilivili and Urho, come to life, things start to happen. Nothing very extraordinary, but mishaps, a little blustering, singing and beatboxing as well as eating jam, of course. The point of view is a little bonkers and based on clownery.
Heiskanen, who plays the role of Mr Hillo in a warm-hearted manner, has three strong personas. Jonna Aaltonen’s Urho is a very charming little man, who will not let anyone walk over him. Eero Vesterinen’s Vilivili is an adorable big clown, and Mikko Makkonen’s Esmeralda is a shy girl with surprising talents.
In addition to the titillating role portrayals, each one of the characters is a brilliant dancer whose precision of movement and stage presence enchant.
The visual design created by Karoliina Koiso-Kanttila is colourful and has a pinch of fairy-tale. The costumes meander mischievously, but they take a stylish bow to circus tradition.
JAM can be watched only as a well-made dance comedy, but under the surface there are deeper tones, too: the justification of being one’s true self and the transience of life. Big matters that are not imposed, but made visible.