Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Created and Performed by Gülsen Özer and Dani-Ela Kayler

As part of Melbourne Fringe Festival

Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall

September 29, 2009, until October 10

Iris reminded me so strongly of something my busy adult self had nearly forgotten, the imaginary world my best friend and I created at primary school. We would constantly be adding characters and having adventures to the point where sometimes it really did seem real. It was somewhere to escape to, which made our daily lives so much more exciting.

Gülsen Özer and Dani-Ela Kayler have captured the essence of that magical childhood time, where anything is possible if only you can imagine it. Their sing-song rhymes, bossy arguments and sophisticated games have one foot in this world and one in a slightly different place, where watching flies while sitting on a country gate can be great entertainment. They have been working on this piece for over three years, and the time spent in development shows in the layers of meaning they’ve been able to compile. I won’t try to point them all out after just one viewing, as I’d be sure to miss too many, but suffice to say I was sitting well forward on my seat to be sure to catch all the little details.

As often happens when dance is combined with spoken word, the movement is sometimes trampled by the more direct power of speech. This is particularly the case when abstracted movement is used in conjunction with seemingly unrelated script, arms and legs waving about in a manner easily spoofed by those who love to hate ‘interpretive dance’. Nevertheless, occasionally Özer and Kayler manage to strike the right balance, finding postures that ring true and speak for themselves, like their ingenious opening sequence where their faces become conjoined, physicalising the emotional interconnection that inseparable friends experience.

It’s by no means a virtuosic dance performance, but neither does it need to be, with a very well developed and delivered script, evocative sound design by Zoë Barry and good direction from Tim White, Iris is a solid piece of dance theatre.


  1. julie & maisieOctober 01, 2009

    we were lucky to have been part of opening night ."Iris" was funny , exciting, sad,. The interaction of voice& dance...a great way to tell the brought back our childhood memories of imaginary friends

  2. Yes, it was all those things, really very enjoyable