Monday, 21 October 2013

Aakash Odedra in Rising at Parramatta

like wow this was superb here's my rave for artshub A compelling and beautiful performance by a rising star of the international dance scene, Aakash Odedra. Aakash Odedra is one of the major up and coming – if not already stellar – younger Kathak/contemporary dancer-choreographers in the UK, following in the footsteps of his mentor, Akram Khan. Direct from the Brisbane Festival, Rising was presented in Sydney for two performances only as part of Parramasala. Regarded as a rising star of the international dance scene, Odedra spent 2011 working with internationally acclaimed choreographers Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Khan and Russell Maliphant, who each created a short solo for this show, which also features a solo created by Odedra himself. All draw on Odedra’s extensive training in the Indian styles of Kathak and Bharatanatyam, blended with ‘contemporary’ dance forms in a mesmerizing, bravura display. The opening work, Nritta, is choreographed by Odedra himself. It begins with dramatic lighting and swirls of dry ice. Odedra has his back to us. Tall and thin, he wears a dark blue/greyish suit and has large expressive eyes. Musically the work has an insistent Kathak beat, and choreographically this particular solo is the most classically Kathak-based. Odedra has a very erect regal bearing but very flexible torso and arms. In one section Odedra performs the very fast rhythmic Kathak footwork and beats but with no ankle bells. Martial arts and whirling movements are included as well as difficult turns on the knees, and startling, flashing, gazelle-like leaps and bounds. Odedra is like an elegant liquid sculpture transfixing us in his gaze. In total contrast was The Shadow of Man, choreographed by Akram Khan. Far more abstract, in this work Odedra is topless, in grey tracksuit pants. It begins with a primal scream. Again there is dramatic, moody lighting which here emphasises the isolated use of the shoulders in the first section – they seem almost dislocated, possibly broken wings – as Odedra slowly, painfully rises from his hunched position. Angular, irregular gestures and strange simian movements are also included in this sombre, rather tormented piece, as well as sliding floorwork and whirling arms. The pulsating lights add to the eerie atmosphere. After interval came Cut, choreographed by Russell Maliphant and opening with a crash of cymbals and then the sound of waves against the shore as part of the pulsating electronic soundtrack. It again showcased Odedra’s graceful fluidity. There was a blurring of light and movement, sinuous rippling and some birdlike movements. A lot of the work was focused on just a tiny strip of light, atmospheric drifting dry ice and Odedra’s floating hands; a raised hand apparently beckoning us. Towards the end there is a ‘staircase’ of light, whirling turns with arms outstretched and strobe like lighting. The final work was Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Constellation, which had Odedra floating dreamlike amongst light globes. He catches one and it glows and pulses as do the other lights, to various degrees and hypnotic effect. Four solos of various moods and styles that showcase Odedra’s astonishing, breathtaking talent , his rippling grace and power. The spontaneous standing ovation at the end was richly deserved. Rating: 4 ½ stars out of 5 Rising Aakash Odedra Company Running time: one hour 15 mins (approx) including interval Nritta Choreography and music arranged by Aakash Odedra In the Shadow of Man Choreography: Akram Khan Lighting: Michael Hulls Music: Jocelyn Pook Cut Choreography: Russell Maliphant Lighting: Michael Hulls Music: Andy Cowton Constellation Choreography: Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui Lighting: Willy Cessa Music: Olga Wojcieowska Lennox Theatre, Parramatta Riverside 5-6 October

The STC's Romeo and Juliet

Here's what I thought for artshubPrint Lead by Eryn Jean Norvill and Dylan Young as the star-crossed lovers, this is a striking and contemporary adaptation. Directed by Kip Williams for the STC, this is a striking and unusual version of Shakespeare’s familiar tale of ‘star crossed’ lovers, lead by Eryn Jean Norvill and Dylan Young and perfect viewing for all young lovers, or those young at heart. The cast is reduced to ten in number, and there are some cuts, conflation and abridgement; it is updated to a contemporary setting and the predominantly younger audience (roughly under 35-ish) absolutely loved it. There is no Duke of Verona shown (although he is mentioned) and the age old duelling and crisis between the two warring houses, while certainly important, is not emphasised. There is no Lady Tybalt either, nor Peter or Friar John, among others. Nor do we meet Romeo’s parents. The production concentrates far more on Romeo and Juliet themselves. Speech patterns and rhythms are of today. In this breathless, fast paced production the generation gap is highlighted – parents don’t understand! – and when love hits, it hits powerfully and for real. Here, Juliet opens and closes the show (with a very tense twist at the end) to great dramatic effect. It is her show; she is the driving force of the narrative come what may. Beautiful Eryn Jean Norvill possibly seems more about 18 rather than the sweet, innocent 14 as indicated in the text, but gives a luminous, enchanting performance. In the ballroom scene she is dizzy with the delight of falling in love; later we see how she faces unexpected responsibilities and events that spiral out of control. The ‘gallop apace you fiery steeds’ speech was tremendously done and the wedding night beautifully, tastefully shown. Juliet knows what she wants and goes and gets it. Romeo becomes her world, but then it tragically implodes... Our hero Romeo was marvellously played by Dylan Young. Passionate and impetuous, everything changes in an instant when he espies Juliet at the ball. The glorious poetry he speaks seems to flow naturally. He is indeed, unfortunately, ‘fortunes fool’ when things go catastrophically wrong. Our star-crossed lovers are an excellently well-matched pair who light up the stage together in two glorious performances. Lady Capulet, Juliet’s mother (Anna Lise Phillips) is here presented as a trophy wife; a tall blonde plastic Barbie doll teetering on high heels. She has an incredible, Evita-like entrance in an astonishing haute couture, over the top, feathery pink evening gown. She is cold, shrill, a busy socialite who expects Juliet to know her place and behave. It is not every day in a production of Romeo and Juliet that you see a hot and sweaty Lord Capulet playing a game of squash with Paris, but that is how we first glimpse Colin Moody as Juliet’s father. He is all power and politics, very concerned with the family name; he dominates and controls Juliet’s life. He has a scary, volcanic temper when Juliet defies him by refusing to marry Paris – this production concentrates on the fight between father and daughter. Paris (Alexander England) is shown as a young, rich, up and coming nobleman/successful businessman. He is energetic, courteous and gentlemanly, as befits his station, and can’t believe his luck when the marriage with Juliet is arranged. He tries to be a gentle, understanding and loving fiancĂ©e. Unfortunately it doesn’t work out, and the consequences are fatal. Juliet’s relationship with her nurse (delightfully played by Julie Forsyth) is warm and tender, perhaps far more loving than that with her mother, Lady Capulet. Juliet’s cousin, Tybalt (Josh McConville) is played as a slightly sinister and hot tempered young man, like a football lout out for vengeance against imagined slights. Special mention must also be made of Eamon Farren’s excellent Mercutio and Akos Armont as Benvolio, Romeo’s friends. Young, hot-headed, brash and exuberant brilliant performances bring out the characters’ teasing wildness. Mercutio’s ‘Queen Mab’ speech in particular is excellently done. The drinks and smokes flow easily. Mercutio’s death is shattering and unexpected, yet light work for Tybalt on a sunny afternoon. Trendy, hip Friar Laurence, younger and cooler than usually portrayed, was given a most excellent performance by Mitchell Butel. He tries to help and advise the young lovers and is caught up in a whirlwind of events beyond his control. Particularly in the second half there is bare minimalist staging – a ‘black box’ set, but with very dramatic and effective use of lighting. This contrasted with the more elaborate staging of Act 1 (especially, for example, the Ballroom/Party scene). The first act also features extensive use of the revolve for swift, cinematic scene changes. (The use of the revolve at times can almost make one ill, but you eventually get used to it.) There is no real balcony for Romeo to climb up, and the usually huge market scenes are very sparsely staged. The crypt for Juliet’s burial is indicated by an almost dreamlike flotilla of mattresses and pillows – most effective. An inspired, passionately, excellently performed production. Rating: 3 ½ stars out of 5 Romeo and Juliet By William Shakespeare A Sydney Theatre Company production Director: Kip Williams Designer: David Fleischer Lighting Designer: Nicholas Rayment Composer/Sound Designer: Alan John Associate Sound Designer: Nate Edmondson Cast: Akos Armont, Mitchell Butel, Alexander England, Eamon Farren, Colin Moody, Julie Forsyth, Josh McConville, Eryn Jean Norvill, Anna Lise Phillips, Dylan Young Running time: 3 hours (approx) including one interval Sydney Opera House 21 September – 2 November

NT Live's Macbeth

I am a giant Kenneth Branagh fan , this screening of him and Alex Kingston in the Macbeth at Manchester was eagerly awaited. Here's what I said for Sydney Arts Guide Thrilling, chilling and gripping this is a bold, vivid, magnificently powerful production co-directed by Kenneth Branagh and Alex Kingston. Tickets to the live season in Manchester as part of the Festival sold out in 9 minutes and it will be touring to New York next year. Here in Sydney we are lucky to see it as part of the NT Live season screenings. The production is set and performed in a deconsecrated church and is full of mud, blood and a very effective use of a huge banks of candles. It is a production that questions faith and belief and belief in the supernatural. There’s a strong stench of corruption in the play and few characters emerge unsullied either metaphorically or literally. The audience sits in the church pews on either side of the long, thin playing space in the middle. Tension is palpable throughout the production which is all about evil and the choices people make, unconsciously or not. Here the Macbeths are presented very much as a loving couple in it together, – at least at first. The Weird Sisters appearance is frightening,- their first appearance makes you jump. (The organ loft above has been converted to a dirty wall, doors slamming) .They are sort of chilling ,blank ,zombie mud spattered creatures that seek to control everything and encourage Macbeth’s downfall . The strident cackles of the demonic trio interrupts the gentle procession of chanting monks below. The Weird sisters plummet us right into the centre of a raging battle in the pouring rain and mud as the play gets off to a whirlwind start. Alex Kingston as Lady Macbeth is superb. For a lot of the play it seems as if she is the driving, ambitious force behind it all. Her sleepwalking, well nigh mad scene , played up on the top of the set with a single candle, is chilling and magnificently performed, revealing the nightmares below the glittering surface of the horrendous price she has had to pay in her delirium. Macbeth as played by Branagh has a sense of entitlement and is taking what he regards as his right , as a tested Thane ,with near contempt for untried young men such as Malcolm. His monologues are an internal stream of consciousness of someone who has already made up his mind and is assessing the implications. Branagh’s Macbeth is a spiritually isolated individual lacking spiritual commitment who really believes only in himself. It is this nihilism and inability to connect to others that allows the thane/king to commit atrocities. He is at first full of amicable disbelief at the witches prophecy , then paces alone in anxious thought, hesitates before the ultimate act of betrayal, – here bloodily shown on the altar itself, blotting out surrounding candles – and becomes more explosive and barely sane as events are set in unstoppable motion. Duncan is presented as somewhat younger and stronger than is usually seen, a burly man , a fine, strong performance by John Shrapnel . In this version we see him being awakened, in a trusting gesture, before his grisly murder by Macbeth. Malcolm is presented as Machiavelli like and bearded smooth- faced Alexander Vlahos looks like a Renaissance miniature. Ray Fearon as Macduff gives a magnificent performance, mostly a cold, dangerous warrior, bold and vigorous, but also a loving husband and father. His performance when he crumbles, and is demented with grief and shock at the murder of his wife and family, is heartbreaking. A tense and enthralling version showcasing magnificent acting, NTLive’s production of MACBETH will screen at selected arthouse cinemas on Macbeth starring Kenneth Branagh will screen at selected cinemas on the weekend of the 2nd and 3rd November, 2013. The running time is just on 2 hours 30 minutes without interval.

NT Live - Othello

This was amazing and gripping here's my thoughts for Sydney Arts Guide This most excellent, enthralling, powerful version of Othello by the National Theatre (NT) is superb. Part of the NT Live series celebrating 50 years of the National Theatre in London this production is bleak, brutal and shattering. Under Nicholas Hytner’s stunning, sharp direction the play has been updated to the present and the play reset to two main locations, a large city corporate office and an army barracks. In this version the usual idea that this Shakespeare’s play is dominated by racism is glossed over, rather Hytner heavily concentrates instead on military details and hidden ironies. The set design has wonderful, coldly effective sliding platforms/doors to frame various scenes, a violent arena in which even the scene changes have an aggressive feel. The harsh flood lit sets of concrete and barbed wire slide out from the back of the stage, moving towards the audience like tanks. Staccato bursts of music pump them along, pushing one scene into the next with the sliding/revolving. Helicopters whirr overhead. So central did Hytner consider the military context that he hired Jonathan Shaw, who served in the army for more than 30 years, as an adviser. Hytner is blessed with a tremendous cast especially in the two very strong male leads of Othello and Iago. Adrian Lester gives a towering, magnificent performance as a splendid Othello. Lester was last seen at the National in the title role of Nicholas Hytner’s production of “Henry V.” His screen work includes five series of the BBC’s “Hustle.” His theatre work also includes “Red Velvet” (2012 Critics’ Circle Best Actor Award), “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” “Company” (Olivier Award), the title role in Peter Brook’s production of “Hamlet” and Rosalind in Cheek by Jowl’s “As You Like It.” . At the beginning he is a well loved top general , a great military man. We see how his trust, and being caught in Iago’s devilish web of machinations, represents his downfall .Charismatic and dignified his speech, his first entrance is sunny and orotund. Men would follow him with his golden voice anywhere. As he murders Desdemona and suicides his eloquence is marvellous and almost terrifying .His jealousy is so intense it makes him vomit. When he succumbs to jealousy he seethes with the sort of fury that causes him to flip a table with a single flick of his wrist…punch holes in the wall. Rory Kinnear as ‘honest’ Iago is also superb, giving a cold, malevolent performance as Othello’s nemesis . Kinnear’s film and TV work includes “Southcliffe,” “Black Mirror: The National Anthem,” and “Skyfall, Quantum of Solace.” His work for the National includes “The Last of the Haussmans” with Julie Walters and the title role in “Hamlet” (Evening Standard Best Actor Award), both of which were broadcast by National Theatre Live. Kinnear’s Iago is ambitious and manipulative with a deadly ,cynical intelligence wearing a false, charming social mask until just before the very end. Kinnear surprises by shocking the audience into laughing at his bitter ingenuity, rather like Richard 111 ,with the monologues drawing us in with even great clarity .Iago air-punches and victory dances when he gets one up on the object of his scorn and hate, plants his feet aggressively apart and helps himself to the water he ‘offered’ Othello when Othello collapses. Iago tries to control his obsessive hate but in the end his hate controls him. Innocent,wronged Desdemona was enchantingly played by Olivia Vinall. In this version she is shown as young, blonde, pretty and determined to have her way as she is desperately in love with Othello. But their two worlds are quite separate – will their marriage survive? She is frail and tiny, chaste and rather out of place in the harsh world of the barracks. Emilia, Iago’s wife (Lyndsey Marshal), is here shown as more Desdemona’s friend rather than her maid. Generally she is rather quiet but, forceful and angry towards the end when protesting Desdemona’s innocence. When Emilia discovers the depths of Iago’s deception and betrayal she becomes a passionate mouse that roars. Jonathan Bailey (recently seen in ITV’s Broadchurch) plays Cassio as very charming but with a deep hidden flaw that Iago exploits, and Tom Robertson’s Roderigo is a believable handsome, elegant dandy. Also of interest is the short film screened at interval on the pressures of army life and the importance of trust between comrades that sheds light on why Othello so wholly believed Iago’s claims against Desdemona. For once, Othello’s credulity is convincing and Iago’s hatred whilst not having a justification does have a possible cause. The tension between the two leads is terrifically calibrated. A stirring, chilling and thrilling production that transfers wonderfully from stage to screen. OTHELLO, part of the NTLive series screened at selected cinemas on the weekend of the 12th and 13th October, 2013. Running time 3 hours and 40 minutes without interval. For more information visit,

Epicentre's Calendar Girls at the Zenith

Here's what I said for Sydney Arts Guide Epicentre Theatre Company in their current production CALENDAR GIRLS explode onto the stage in a very funny, yet extremely moving production. Belinda Clark the director has a very strong cast and they all give very strong performances. The script is witty and incisive and the story told with great poignancy and humour. Readers might have seen the film version or the stage version at the Theatre Royal in 2010.The plot, if you don’t know already, is developed from real life events: the making of a ‘nude’ calendar by members of a Yorkshire Women’s Institute which became a huge seller in 1999 and raised – and continues to raise, in part thanks to this play – truckloads of money for cancer research and the local hospital . There is much discussion about ‘Nude’ vs ‘Naked’ and is It Art ? ( ‘‘ Naked’ involves detail whereas ‘nudity’ rather suggests ‘). Some of the other issues raised in the play include aging, feminism , love, loss and friendship , and also that of selling oneself short for commercialization , albeit for an extremely good cause – how far do/should you go ? As retired school teacher Jessie ( Sandy Velini) says ‘ the worst thing about age is what you think age expects of you’ and ‘ I have never had a problem with age, my dear, it has had a problem with me’. A mixed group of women – who we learn are variously retired, lonely frustrated, bored searching and all bonded by their dislike for their snobby chairwoman Marie – rally around the grieving Annie (Annabel Cotton), who has lost her husband to leukaemia. Characterization throughout is terrific .There are some very witty one liners , lots of laughs and some excellent , at times rather startling monologues . For the Easter section Melanie Robinson as Ruth dressed as the Easter Bunny is very funny . Chris, the rather outgoing ringleader seduced by media attention and succumbing to the commercialisation is wonderfully played by Wendy Morton . She is great friends with Annie (Annabel Cotton ) . We see their major spat in Act 2 yet their friendship is reforged by the end of the show .Ruth ( Melanie Robinson) is generally rather quiet but turns once she discover the confidence to confront the make up girl Elaine who had an affair with her husband. Celia is a stunning long legged ‘ hot ‘party animal brazenly, lusciously performed by Donna Sizer in a sizzling, magnetic performance . ( what a naughty, stunning Santa’s helper! ) The actual photo shoot at the end of Act 1 , somewhat abridged , is hilarious and very well done , dressing gowns coyly discarded among the tea cakes, iced buns, flowers and vegetables . While claiming to be outrageous the women still manage to be cautious yet flirtatious . Changing is done very discreetly behind photographic light shields and/or drapes and the posing is dramatically, tastefully done . Laughing Dona Sizer as Celia delectably juggles her appendages behind the iced buns with cherry nipples. Christine Firkin as Cora at the piano discreetly gives us an upper torso rear view while Melanie Robinson’s nervous,breathless yet determined Ruth lies enchantingly among a large tub of oranges. The audience absolutely loved it. The climatic speech that opens the second half – the appeal to the WI – is very well done , and we are the WI audience. There are some cameo appearances by Carol Keeble as frightfully elegant ,delightfully snobbish Lady Carvenshire and Mark O’Connor is excellent as Lawrence the photographer in Act 1 . As John, Annie’s husband who has leukaemia, Nick Bolton gives a very powerful and moving performance beautifully , rather gently fading away .Liam in Act 2 is given a fine performance by almost unrecognizable Bolton and Tim Bate is very supportive as Rod . The action is mostly located in the church functioning as a WI hall ( also used as a scouts hall , badminton court etc ) with some wonderful use of projections ( eg for the outdoor tai chi classes and the sunflower remembrance montage at the end ) . There are some other great theatrically inspiring moments – for instance the sudden overhead fluttering arrival of the deluge of letters of support and encouragement . Also the use of the theme of the sunflowers and the huge sunflower field at the end. In Act 2 we see the unexpected stiff battles between the friends at the Women’s Institute and wonder how they cope with their sudden , unexpected fame.Or in fact do they handle it well ? A wickedly warm , inspirational and yet poignant show . 2014 Calendars are being sold to raise money for the Arrow Bone Marrow Transplant Foundation . Running time 2 hours 30 (approx) including interval CALENDAR GIRLS runs at the Zenith Theatre 11-196 October 2013

Monday, 7 October 2013

The Way of All Fish

Another exciting Fringe show I saw ... here's what I said for artshub Lynne Lancaster Friday 20 September, 2013 Two very strong performances feature in this caustic battle of wills by Elaine May, presented as part of the Sydney Fringe. Two very strong performances feature in this caustic battle of wills by Elaine May, presented at the Old Fitz as part of this year’s Sydney Fringe. The Way of All Fish imagines a drunken Friday night ‘quiet dinner’ between a dominating, nitpicking boss from Hell, Ms Margaret Asquith (Sarah Farmer) and her underpaid, possibly psychotic secretary, Miss Joan Riverton (Hailey McQueen), and uses black humour to reveal strange happenings in a modern day office. What begins with a minor request about an exercise elastic becomes a catalyst for a surprising sparring match. It is a man’s world, as Margaret bemoans; soon we learn about the sex lives of fish who change gender in order to survive. The two women circle each other warily, snapping like sharks. Small objects such as a nail file become potentially lethal weapons. Impressions of a posh penthouse office (in this Sydney version, in Martin Place) are artfully conveyed with flexible use of interchangeable white cubes and a large white desk. The soundtrack is very eclectic. Farmer and McQueen give delicious, excellent performances. As Margaret, Farmer opens the show, displaying her strength and agility as she exercise. Later she appears elegantly dressed in an orange top with lace and a black and gold jacket. We then see her dominating personality as she ticks off Joan, her secretary, for a minor misdemeanour. Unexpected cancelations of events lead to them ordering food and having a ‘night in’. Over the course of the evening, as both of them put away lots of wine, Margaret confesses she is blinkered, only seeing what is right in front of her and how awkward this can be. Educated in Switzerland, she is ambitious and somewhat self centred and it sounds as if she is caught in a cold, unhappy marriage. Joan, her secretary, disparages her boss’s personal trainer and exercise routine. We learn that Joan is from Wagga Wagga and surprisingly knowledgeable about wine, but claims not to know who Dostoevsky is. But the big themes of the play are developed in Joan’s drunken confessions about her younger self wanting to be famous and her fascination – almost obsession – with murder and how one murders to become famous. Joan’s thoughts are chillingly portrayed – is she in fact slightly mad? Does she poison Margaret with the wine? Do both of them survive? The Way of All Fish explores the appearance of strength and power – how many boxes of office files can Joan (or Margaret) lift? How many push-ups can each do? How much power does each woman really wield over the other? May’s script is witty, biting and sarcastic, and features some great one liners. The packed audience really enjoyed this show and laughed in all the right places. But on your way out, please do not feed the fish. Rating: 3 ½ stars out of 5 The Way of All Fish By Elaine May Presented by Lumi Theatre and SITC Director: Kylie Bonaccorso Stage Manager: Neridah Morris Cast: Sarah Farmer and Hailey McQueen Running time: one hour (approx) no interval The Old Fitzroy Theatre, Woolloomooloo 17-21 September Sydney Fringe Festival 6-29 September

Twisted Element's Gothica

This was brilliant ! part of the Sydney Fringe Lynne Lancaster Monday 30 September, 2013 An abstract exploration through dance of humanity’s journey of spirit during a time of emergence from the dark into the light. For one night only, those of us lucky enough to attend were treated to this great show, a world premiere as part of the Sydney Fringe. Directed and choreographed by Angela Hamilton Hill, who also performed in the work, Twisted Element Dance Company’s Gothica claims to be a ‘contemporary dance theatre work incorporating dynamic, physical choreography within a dreamy collage of the Medieval/Renaissance period’. I would have said, however, that it seemed to be set more in the 19th century, when the Romantic themes of vampires were in vogue. The work, which attempts to explore human drives, relationships, emotions, their passions and desires in all their complexity and beauty, begins in a rather traditional way with a lovely young lady discovering and beginning to read a book. But the book is a collection of spells and nightmare visions... There was no real plot as such – other than the young maiden opening and reading the book – rather a series of short vignettes and a dreamlike, haunted mood, at times lyrical, sometimes chilling. The ensemble consisted of very strong performers, made up with vampire-like eyes. The women wore black tops with beautifully designed, specially cut skirts that had a peplum/bustle like effect at the back, but which flowed wonderfully. Hamilton Hills’ choreography was unusual and very demanding. Were there hints of Graeme Murphy in a couple of tiny phrases of movement? It was ballet based but contemporary in style, with a twist. There was lots of rolling floorwork, at certain points undulating yet angular arms, a martial arts-like segment and a use of the deep Graham plie. Some of the lifts were quite challenging. One scene was possibly a harsh quarrel between lovers – or was it that he was being poisoned? In another brief scene, a doll-like female dancer is being manipulated and controlled – this leads to a pas de quatre with most intriguing lifts and balances. Some sections featured a mysterious, rather ominous and threatening atmosphere; at one point it was as if the dancers were celebrating a dark ritual. In another scene, one of the women was tethered to a long, stretchy piece of material and unsuccessfully trying to escape, but was guarded and reined in by one of the men. In another short scene the three men (all topless, in black leggings) performed a very strong athletic trio, showing off their strength and agility. Gothica was performed with minimal staging; no real sets as such, just black drapes/flats, combined with very effective, dramatic and atmospheric lighting that ranged from a golden glow to blood red. The end result was a compelling, mesmerizing work; a mix of athletic pas de deux and ominous swirling forms, an abstract exploration of humanity’s journey of spirit during a time of emergence from the dark into the light. Rating: 4 stars out of 5 Gothica Twisted Element Dance Company Director/choreographer: Angela Hamilton Hill Dancers: Angela Hamilton Hill, Courtney Horton, Aimee O’Conner, Kate Vane-Tempest, Cameron Forwood, Cassandra Crone, Natasha Newling, Wayde Gee and Jodie Toogood Running time an hour (approx) no interval The Forum, Leichhardt 22 September Sydney Fringe 6-29 September