PUNCTURE

Legs on the Wall, Form Dance Projects & Vox – Sydney Philharmonic Choirs
Riverside Theatre – Sydney Festival

Director: Patrick Nolan
Composer: Stefan Gregory
Choreographer: Kathryn Puie

Photo credit: Prudence Upton

Premise: According to one survey on the things humans fear most, dancing in public is high on the list – above having a needle but not as high as singing in public. Despite this, social dances have been places where people have sought and found contact for centuries, puncturing their fear with the desire for something else.

Review: Riverside Theatre’s stripped bare, exposed skeletal space and partial immersive seating for this dance performance was an atmospheric winner. Very Katrin Brack-esque by designer Mel Page setting the tone even more so with tentacles of lights hanging from the fly, simple, effective and savvy. Large projections on bare concrete walls by video designer Mic Gruchy too added to the ever-growing layers of the angelic voices of the Vox-Sydney Philharmonic Choir, whom not only echoed throughout the corridors and tiered seated audience but too creating a luscious organically executed surround sound effect that encapsulated audience and performer as one.

Collaborations more often than not are a thing of beauty, the choice by Patrick Nolan to combine choir and dance companies a sensational choice. The vast cultural, age and social demographics this added to the work was both mirroring to the works concept and premise. Nolans’ use of the choir as apart of the choreography only represented and showcased not just dancers acting but real people being real and embracing their love for singing and giving them an opportunity to be immersed in a medium that I am sure a lot of community choirs do not find themselves in. This was interesting with a huge sensation of local community and talent.

The coming together of ‘Legs on the Wall’ and ‘Form Dance Projects’ brought a theatrics and possibilities that were gravity defying and electrifying to witness. ‘Legs on the Walls’ out-of-the-box concepts on breaking that relationship with the floor to explore beyond what gravity demands as a dancer really added wind into the sails of the performance. Kathryn Puie has managed to design organised chaos well using several dance styles from rockabilly, contemporary, the classic waltz and free-style with flare and affiliated rhythm, keeping the audience entranced through-out. Though attention to story-line and the heavenly match of the two dance bodies was a wonder, there were slight sensations of separation of the two during synchronised choreography which wasn’t always in time, technical capabilities varied from dancer to dancer with a few forgetting their core in their passion which made you wince for fear of injury. The sight of the sickle foot from many of the female dancers certainly was a jarring sight for any eye for the technique of dance. These elements did take away some of the strength and sharpness that could have been achieved with a finer tune to detail from dancers and choreographer.

In saying that, the passion, the sweat and the focus did not waver and out weighed any technical faults in performance, the inventive use of projection, music and choir in a space with grandeur hips were all elements that worked gloriously for director Patrick Nolan. Damien Cooper’s lightning design was the hero of the evening for me alongside Bree Van Reyk whose percussionist skills a welcomed element and talent. Kudos must go out to riggers Jon Blake and Lija Simpson whom had a performance all of their own making sure in the fly dancers were safe and sound at all times.

‘Puncture’ is an enjoyable exploration of human relationship, form and fears, full of colour, variety, spirit, vitality and talent. Suitable for absolutely everyone, if you’re lucky you might even get a gentle waltz with one of the dancers and become apart of the art in motion.

BAD

Red Line Productions @ The Old Fitz Theatre

Directed by: Scott Witt

Photo credit: Yael Stempler

Starring: Penny Greenhalgh & Kate Walder

Review: ‘BAD’, is Red Line Productions first of their late night shows, with the main course of ‘Masterclass’ running at a very decent time of 55 minutes it takes no effort at all to stick around and let dessert devour you for 45 minutes with the ever so delightful clowning performances by Greenhalgh and Walder. Greenhalgh plays a goofy minded philospher with effortless candor, Walder equally as entertaining as a French stunt woman showcases her vocals and tap dancing which added the cream to this already delicious strawberry of a show.

Catering to the child-within there wasn’t a giggle free adult in the room, old-school entertainment as endearing as a knock-knock joke and a box of dress-up clothes. The world of make believe is often lost when us Peter’s shed our Pan, Walder and Greenhalgh hand us a warm reminder that the world is our play school and a plain old bucket can easily be a space helmet and an audience members hand bag a jet pack. (naturally!)

This show is a couple of clowns making sure that there is a smile on every dial watching, and they indeed succeeded, it has been a very long time since I have been entertained by a clown and I’m sure thrilled it was these two hilarious ladies who have put in the time and effort to entertain and make clowning cool again!

Highly recommended for kids of all ages from 5-99 years!

MASTERCLASS (A PLAY)

Red Line Productions @ The Old Fitz Theatre

Photo credit: Marnya Rothe

Written, directed and performed by Gareth Davies & Charlie Garber

13th-31st January

Synopsis: Gareth Davies and Charlie Garber invite you to witness an evening of learning at the deepest level and enter their ‘Dream Forge’. Let these two frail geniuses take your hand. Let them take you through a story of how they came to understand the true power of art.

Review: Comedy and horror I would say are the two genres hardest to pull off in front of any audience. There is a certain rhythm and chronological happening that must occur between performer and audience to draw them in, having them sitting in the palm of your hand at hello or boo is critical to the survival and probability of story. Comedy, is the performer under the spotlight here, which is all a glow on the skin of Gareth Davies and Charlie Garber. These men have successfully executed a hilarious depiction of their craft through a series of events that highlights, makes fun of and exaggerates (purposefully) the various processes of the actor, with a gleefully diabolical storyline which is cleverly wrought around a fictional character (Charlie Garber) whom  journey’s with actor, playing actor…Not playing actor (you’ll understand when you see it) Gareth Davies. This duo has that Australian comedy style humour and banter in the bag, almost nostalgically so. A real, down to earth style of comedy and a bro-ship that is recognisable and loved by the general public, (generally) it’s impossible not to feel apart of the submersion of the ‘Dream Forge’.

Calling ‘Masterclass’ a play could be up for debate, possibly subjective, it presents itself with more gusto as a comedy sketch with theatrical traits than a play itself. None the less this pocket rocket of a show is well worth your time and your $20. There is no doubt the talent, natural quality in performance and that golden ability to connect with an audience with little but the flesh and blood that stands before it, is abundant in these two men, both having an organic mastery of periphrasis. A refreshing beginning to 2k15, and even more refreshing to discover two self-trained actors carving their many successes with their own tools without the parenting of NIDA or VCA. Inspiring to say the very least, fresher than babies breath in-fact! Keep it up gentlemen, bravo!