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Review – When Time Stops: perfect blend of music and movement

Camerata of St John’s and the company in “Bodies”

When Times Stops

Choreographed by Natalie Weir

Music composed by Ian Grandage

Expressions Dance Company, QPAC, Camerata of St John’s presentation

Playhouse Theatre

Queensland Performing Arts Centre

South Bank


Season: May 20-18. Bookings or 136 246. Running time 65 minutes with no interval.

The Woman is dying and, as the ghostly Ferryman rows his boat across the Styx, her life flashes before her eyes. In moments frozen in time the most important events of her life unfold on stage with exquisite movement and magical award winning chamber music

This is a perfect blending of music and movement and mind-blowing dance from eight screamingly fit and talented dancers. Their style, line, amazing lifts, and constant motion sometimes fast and sometimes in difficult slow-motion was mesmerising. And having the orchestra on stage and moving in time to the music too was a touch of genius.

Natalie Weir has this magical knack of taking contemporary dance and giving it a pure classical feel and in this 65 minute long piece also showed off her brilliant story-telling ability.

Ian Grandage’s score for the Camerata of St John Orchestra was perfectly in touch with the dance, it was atmospheric, exciting and painted the action in vivid musical colour.

There are 16 separate incidents in the life of The Woman, some sad, some happy, some violent, some frantic and filled with fear and others that are simply serene and joyful. Michelle Barnett was The Woman and she was on stage for the entire production. She was superb as she mastered her different emotions and showed complete trust in her fellow dancers as she was tossed around in so many exacting lifts.

Thomas Gundry Greenfield was The Ferryman and he showed remarkable stamina and fitness. He was on stage for almost the entire show and was the ever-present reminder of human mortality as he rowed his invisible oars and steered the boat more and more into the stage area. It was an impressive performance, but then the same has to be said for the whole cast. The talent and experience was a credit to EDC and showed why it is accepted as one of the best contemporary dance companies in the country.

The program itemised all the moments in her life, but even in the dark the emotions and stories were made crystal clear with the choreography and interpretation by the dancers.

The First Kiss was sweetly innocent as danced by Rebecca Hall and Benjamin Chapman with The Woman hovering in her own memory, while Knocked Sideways, with Michelle Barnett and Jake McLarnon, was a fast and violent dance that was obviously a traffic accident.

More poignant was Cardiac with Elise May and Thomas Gundry Greenfield as the Ferryman tried resuscitation while the life slowly ebbed from his subject’s body.

It was a show that, like The Woman’s life, flashed before our eyes and seemed to over in the blink of an eye and yet it left me with a feeling of complete satisfaction. A circle had been beautifully completed.

There is also a special offer on tickets. Adult A reserve seats can be bought at concession price, a saving of $14 per seat with a maximum of four per booking. Call 136 246 and quote codeword “TIME”.

After party photos by Deanne Scott

Members of the Camerata of SDt John's

Choreographer Natalie Weir, QPAC chief John Kotzas and retiring EDC board member Libby Lincoln.

A welcome back to former Queensland Ballet Artistic Director Francois Klaus and wife Robyn from Eric Scott.

Above: Composer Ian Grandage (right) and friend. Left: Thomas Gundry Greenfield with a proud mum.

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