Right: Benjamin Chapman and Elise May. Below right: Richard Causer. Photos Christ Herzfield
After-show photos by Deanne Scott follow the review.
Behind closed Doors
Choreographed by Natalie Weir
Musical Director Sean Foran
Music by Trichotomy
Expressions Dance Company
Queensland Performing Arts Centre
Season: May 19-27. Bookings www.qpac.com.au or phone 136 246. Running time: 65 minutes without interval.
Natalie Weir has worked her magic again, this rime fusing
Trichotomy’s jazz with contemporary dance to create an hour of illusion, sensuality, and sexual tension. The setting is a hotel where the rooms are dressed in bordello red drapes cleverly lit by David Walters. Many businessmen and anonymous women enter and, with the sterility of the room change; some to suffer in private others to live out secret fantasies. The stories are told in short scenes, some linked others not.
The dancers were strong, super fit, and filled with incredible energy as they produced some difficult, body- twisting routines with split-second timing.
The many facets of the stories are told with Natalie Weir’s signature moves, contemporary and yet staying close to classical in feel. Movement was fluid and highly physical and strongly interpretive as they acted out the narrative.
It was fascinating to watch as the movement which was matched perfectly to the live music from Trichotomy (Sean Foran, piano; Samuel Vincent, acoustic bass and John Parker, drums) with guests super saxophone player Rafael Karlen and the soaring instrumental voice of Kristin Bernadi.
The linking figure to the tales was The Maid, who had the keys to the rooms and, although practically invisible to the guests, as was shown in a frenetic, fast moving opening scene where she was tossed and pushed and lifted and dropped with slick precision by the ensemble dancer. It was punishing role but Alana Sargent handled the dance beautifully and showed how good an actor she is too.
She drifted in and out of the action, at one time lurking in the shadows and another acting out her own fantasy by trying on a male guests clothing.
There was the Lonely Woman poignantly danced by Elise May. She sat alone in the restaurant yearning for a lost love as she acted out the trauma of her loss. Her dreaming ended in anger and despair. It was a moving piece of work.
Equally moving was the transvestite Business Man danced by Richard Causer. The room looked lonely as he began to change his clothes and then from under the bed came his female side exotically danced by Michelle Barnett along with Jake McLarnon as the male side. The battle for dominance as brilliantly fought. Greg Clarke’s mirrored set added another dimension to the show with the reflected images of the three characters.
The Michelle Barnett and Jake McLarnon joined forces again in a delightful scene when exuberant happiness came in the scene with two young lovers romping around the room. It was such a vibrant change from the darkness of other scenes, like Benjamin’ Chapman’s interpretation of the drug addicted Dark Man, which was filled with pain and sadness and guest dancer Xu Yiming's tortured introvert The Chameleon.
It is difficult to know where to stop with the praise because there was so much to enjoy in this production. It is one you could see over again and still find so many new facets to explore.
Below : Natalie Weir with her proud Mum and son Maitland Marshall .
Eric Scott and Expressions Executive Direction Christine Johnstone