Review By Lauren Donikian
When you think about performers that give their heart and soul to the stage, I want you to think about Dan Daw. Dancer, Comic and “crip” as he would call himself, Daw shows the audience what life could be like when you let go of control and just be free.
On entry into the theatre the first thing you see is a man dancing around freely, to the music that is playing. Behind him a portal on the back wall with The Dan Daw Show in black block letters across the banner. There is a pale pink curtain and 2 rows of lights that run vertically on either side of the portal. There is a chair, a table and 2 bottles of water.
The music stops and Daw enters from behind the curtain. The first thing he mentions is that he wants everyone to feel comfortable, to move freely in the space and to not feel ashamed if they must leave. Daw and his team at Dan Daw Creative Projects put provisions in place to ensure that every audience member felt safe and that anyone of any disability could enjoy the show as they deserve to. The show is captioned, trigger warnings are mentioned, and examples are shown to prepare the audience of what is to come.
What occurs over the next 90 minutes is the exploration of what Daw’s body can do. When it is stretched to its limits, confined, or flying freely you can’t take your eyes off him. There are shrills of excitement, grunts and expletives thrown about but the best moments are found in the quiet ones. Where you just get to observe Daw in a space where he is safe, accepted and not being judged but being respected. The person that shows the most amount of respect is the collaborator that shares the stage with him. Christopher Owen who has a sweet voice constantly checks in with Daw, he sets up tables, mic stands and a latex vacuum cube. He is dominant, forceful and at times tender. Daw submits to him and losses himself in the many moments they share. The way they hold each other, the eye contact they maintain and hushed whispers that can’t be heard enhance the idea that this is their world, and we just get to have a glimpse of it.
Daw is likeable, witty, and proud of the body that he is in. It is his body that is celebrated in this show, what it can do and how entering the world of kink has encouraged him to move freely and embrace all that he is. He is honest, raw and isn’t afraid to stand in silence whilst waiting for his next command. There is strength, pain, and ecstasy on display and yet moments of pure intimacy that only happen when you are with someone you completely trust. Daw stands in his power, and he will encourage you to do the same.