Monday, April 16, 2012

Done to Perfection

Weave Movement Theatre, Image by Paul Dunn
Weave Movement Theatre
Directed by Sally Smith and Janice Florence
Dancehouse, Melbourne
April 12, 2012

*NEW SHOW* 2pm on Sunday April 29, Brunswick Town Hall. Bookings 9416 9673 or

It shouldn’t have been a surprise, given that Sally Smith is one of the co-directors, but the humour in this show was a lovely and unexpected bonus for me. Perhaps with all the Comedy Festival madness in Melbourne at the moment I was ready for some solemnity, or maybe that’s just what we get served so often in dance theatre.

Nevertheless, good comic timing and unbridled joy make a great combination, especially when delivered in a thoughtful production such as Done to Perfection. With brilliant collaborators and a dedicated cast, Weave deliver an inclusive (for audiences as well as performers) dance theatre experience which asks many questions using very few words.

We are lead into the theatre by a quirky song about living in the city, where we discover a quizzical machine and its barefoot inventor, The Professor.  The device is designed to cure all human imperfections, although the results are not quite as expected.

Elegant oriental-style fan dances, raucous song, a fledgling romance which struggles to overcome the corporate language of the city, dancing skyscrapers and a double helix of interconnected bodies are just some of the scenes which erupt once the machine is switched on. Ranging from the sublime to the hilarious, the narrative is loose enough to allow for improvisational play without feeling scattered.

Although one is loathe to make comparisons, there are similarities between Weave and Back to Back Theatre, particularly in the way that artists of all abilities are treated with equal respect and at times, irreverence. Physical, musical, dramatic and comic talents emerge from throughout Weave’s large ensemble of performers both with and without disabilities, constantly surprising and delighting .

Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey’s sound design is full of interesting sounds and great dance tracks, while Adrienne Chisholm’s witty set design and Richard Vabre’s skilful lighting transport the performers into an exciting imaginary world.

It’s a terrific romp, as lively as it is thought provoking.

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