Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Get Your Dance Pants On

I was at the Golden Plains music festival on the weekend and some friends were telling me how they woke up to a pretty bizarre sight. A bunch of guys in their 30s/40s were dressed in nothing but helmets and high-vis constructions vests and were rolling down the upright tray of a tipper truck onto a huge pile of mattresses. Someone said “hey, that sounds a lot like Chunky Move’s new show”.

Then someone else said “I thought Mortal Engine was like some ballerinas got lost at a doof”. And someone else said “I thought it was great at first, but it was a bit of a one-trick pony”. And someone else said “were the dancers on rollerskates?” and all agreed that it would have been better if they were.

Mortal Engine’s a good show and pretty stunning visually, but it doesn’t make huge advances on the pioneering of Glow. The light/dark projection system is spectacular; I wasn’t totally sure what the dancers were doing half the time, though. If I saw a piece of straight theatre and said that the set was a killer but I missed most of what the actors got up to, I don’t think it would be much of a recommendation.

As an aside: when I recently saw Red Stitch’s Yellow Moon, during the applause I said to a friend “I really love that light-bulb they used”. He took that as the most damning appraisal of a show he’d ever heard, but I didn’t mean it that way. I quite liked Yellow Moon. It was an awesome light-bulb, however.

I guess Mortal Engine is kind of making a point about the increasing interdependence of the body and immaterial technologies, to the point where they’re inseparable, but I think the concept doesn’t go far enough beyond that.

On the other hand, Russell Dumas’ Huit a Huit is terribly minimal. Dancers in all blacks perform abstract routines in the empty upstairs studio of Dancehouse. They might be improvising, I’m not sure. Some of the paired pieces had lovely phrases but I struggled to connect much with what was going on, and the program notes were very theoretical and academic and not very illuminating. I put it in the category of dance for dancers, which is a very large genre and very important, but sometimes misses me completely.

Also: here’s The Time Machine performed by LEGO.

No comments: