Morris: A Life With Bells On

Morris is all too familiar with being the butt of jokes. But here, in Morris: A Life With Bells On, the jokes are very much welcomed, embraced and perpetuated.

In the style of the mockumentary, we meet Derecq Twist, one of the most revered dancers in the country and Squire of Millsham Morris. The narrator swiftly becomes attached to this man of simple pleasures: Morris, cider, tractor mechanics and cribbage. The Twist family are well known as a Morris dynasty, and we are soon introduced to the vigorous training regime in which Derecq and his fellow dancers are subject to. No wonder Millsham Morris are held in such high regard.

Training with basketball players and finely tuning their bells and weighted hankies are just part and parcel of their drills, where their commitment to Morris presides over day jobs and love lives.

But Derecq is also a boundary-pusher, much to The Morris Circle’s dismay, and he is not content with dancing the ‘prescribed dances’. His attempts to bring his dance into the twenty-first century soon bring about his side’s downfall.

Derecq finds himself on the other side of the Atlantic, reduced to dancing ‘the devil’s dance’.

Morris: A Life With Bells On knows Morris inside out. The writers, producers and possibly even the actors hold Morris dear, enjoying and revelling in its quirks. However, and more importantly, it understands perceptions of the dance, and its position in modern day Britain – and the oft-publicised challenges it faces longterm.

And the film tackles it with abandon, offering no solution but affection and hilarity.