Review: DONUTS is a performance you donut want to miss

Treat yourself to a night out with a cosy night in feeling, and allow yourself to be transported back in time
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Rooted in its heart-warming story, relatable characters and ever-evolving friendships, DONUTS, by Extended Play, allows you to take a break from reality. 

You can recline, relax, and rewind as you enjoy this phenomenal dance show, influenced by the classic sitcoms of the 90s and 00s. 

The inspiration for the performance, which stems from (choreographer) Jamaal Burkmar’s own relationship with music and its influence on his friendships growing up, gives the dance show just the right amount of authentic emotion to connect with the audience on a personal level. 

Costume and set designer, Rebecca Bevan, succeeds at using simplicity to their advantage.

Photo: Genevieve Reeves

The set consists of a couch highlighted by an overhead spotlight, a clothing rail with costume changes, and props reminiscent of the 90s and 00s well-known pop culture and household items.

Although at first it may come across as somewhat plain and understated, each item is used effectively throughout the performance to add depth to the story, allowing the audience to better understand the characters and their emotions throughout.

Before the show even begins, the dancers – Maya Caroll, Dorna Ashory, and Iolanda Portogallo – exude an easy-going vibe, chatting and joking amongst themselves quietly on the sofa, with the overhead spotlight on them, drawing in the audience from the get-go.

Whilst the three best friends are hanging out with each other during the pre-show, familiar scenes from the TV sitcom Friends can be heard playing through the speakers, adding to the cosy, comfortable atmosphere. 

Once the audience is settled in, the story immediately begins.

Following three friends getting ready for a night out, DONUTS portrays how music can bring people together, no matter what life throws at them.

Photo: Genevieve Reeves

The music of the performance connects to the narrative of the friendship group’s night out, as they face ups and downs, expressed solely through each of the dancers’ emotional facial expressions and fluid movements.

Iolanda Portogallo in particular conveys such realistic, and often times humorous, facial expressions throughout the dance show, whilst compelling the audience to connect with her character’s motivations through her stunning dancing and flowing movements.

The particular bond between the performers Maya Carroll and Dorna Ashory bring the connection between the two characters to life, as they encapsulate the potential idea of unspoken relationships during the 90s and 00s, which wouldn’t have had the opportunity to blossom.

Although the pair navigate a few trials and tribulations throughout the show, being able to witness the insinuated romance between them is truly heart-warming, even if the outcome is only a close friendship. 

The lighting throughout the performance, courtesy of Barnaby Booth, also amplifies the entire show, directing not only the scene but the audience’s emotions as it reflects the highs and lows of the friend group’s night out, reflecting their continually progressive friendship.

Treat yourself to a night out with a cosy night in feeling, and allow yourself to be transported back in time.

DONUTS is at The Lowry until 12th of February, and then continues on tour on the 15th of February in London. Tickets start from £10 and are available here.

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