14 February 2010

Happy as Larry

Happy as Larry

Shaun Parker & Company (Australia)

Saturday 13 February 2010

Dance in Australia never ceases to amaze me; I wish more of it would tour to Canada and show us what dance should and can be.

Combining dance, ballet, break-dancing, movement, and roller-skates, this high-octane performance unwaveringly captures our pursuit of happiness and the pain, failure, misery, absurdity, self-loathing, determination, love and humour we encounter on the way.

A simple stage set-up, a backdrop was created using a series of flats attached back to back, which the performers moved in and out of, rotated around the stage, and which provided a platform to demonstrate their physical abilities, acted as a scene changer and a blackboard. Crayola should sponsor this show; chalk has never been used more effectively.

Highlights included the opening scene with a single performer staring defiant and deadpan out into the audience. Quiet slow laughter became increasingly more frantic, uncontrollable, exuberant. It took us (myself and the Jury, and I’m pretty confident I could speak on behalf of the audience) more time than I’d like to admit to realize the laughter was coming from the same person. All the while deadpan, unmoving. Jury Members=amazed.

Another highlight was a dancer jumping manically, feverishly up and down against a large bright yellow chalk sun, absorbing its rays. I have never seen dance so vividly convey unbridled emotion. She was bursting with joy.

The showstopper for the Jury was the ‘wardrobe malfunction’. In the midst of great physical feats of awe-inspiring roller-skating, spinning, flipping, and a final handstand, shorts somehow ended up around ankles. A new term for me, his “rude bits” were exposed according to the Jury, amid gasps, outcries, laughter and unstoppable giggles. (To anyone concerned with the inappropriateness of youngsters seeing “rude bits,” I offer you this: first, they’ve already seen worse on TV; and second, we were in the balcony.) None-the-less, expect a new award for this one....

All in all, I think we left happier than Larry. I for one turned into a sunbeam.