A playfully intense exploration of the boundaries of humanity, consciousness and existence from Chunky Move.
Image by Jeff Busby.
Opening with billowing smoke catching coloured flashes of lights that synchronise with thumping beats and frozen, crouching forms dimly visible through the haze, this off-kilter start to a dance performance cues the audience to expect the unexpected. Abruptly, the music and lighting changes to a harsh even white light, revealing a stark white stage littered with vaguely industrial detritus beneath the clearing smoke. From one of the piles comes a small voice, causing the two crouching forms to twitch and jerk, responding like winsomely animated figures.
Antony Hamilton’s choreography aims to ‘keep everything’ by providing a second life to sequences not used in previous productions, finding use for abandoned creative detritus. Using a freewheeling association of ideas, the dancers move from a primordial state, discover the human passion for organisation, explore their humanity from primate proclivities to perfect poses and then transcend this by returning to the original state and rejecting this artificial notion of order. And there are many numbers involved along the way. This may be a reviewer’s futile attempt to impose an arbitrary narrative structure and existential meaning to something ultimately without structure or meaning or simply the result of a director choreographer’s determination to ‘keep everything’ during the creative process – it is up to each audience member to decide for themselves!
Benjamin Hancock, Lauren Langlois and Alisdair Macindoe impress not only with physical control and response to specific choreographed direction, but with their presentation of lines that would challenge many actors more accustomed to vocal, verbal performances. Langlois particularly reveals a lovely singing voice as well as strength and flexibility while executing a surreal flow-of-consciousness series of poses. Macindoe delivers clear ideas in lecture form as well as working successfully with Hancock to produce puppetry with face. Hancock manages to keep his own facial expressions under control for the whole hour, never betraying any response to the ludicrous or strenuous physical outpourings of himself or his colleagues. The trio perform impressive sets of movements, working through concepts and motions, not necessarily in tight unison but with a unified sympathy of purpose, however startling and abstract that may become as it develops. The sequence involving Langlois, Macindoe and number patterns is a highlight that amazes both as it happens and again, later, when reflecting on just how difficult that must have been to perfect as both a movement and rapid spoken delivery piece.
Featuring a killer electronic soundtrack from The Presets’ Julian Hamilton and Kim Moyes, the pulsing, driving beat meets its match in the compelling and startling lighting design from Ben Cistern and the projection design from Robin Fox. At several points in the performance the technical aspects are the stars; dancers’ bodies existing to become more or less visible through smoke, limbs on display only to create forms with light and shadow – this never becomes dull, with masters of their art utilising bass, rhythm and disturbing feedback whines to create an intensely rich soundscape throughout.
Intensely developed, light-heartedly presented, with tight technical control making the most of every moment, Chunky Move brings an extraordinary explosion of ideas and dance with Keep Everything.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Presented by Mobile States and PICA
Director & Choreographer: Antony Hamilton
Lighting Design: Benjamin Cisterne
Sound Design: Julian Hamilton & Kim Moyes
AV Design: Robin Fox
System Design & Operation: Nick Roux
Stage Manager: Blair Hart
Performed by Benjamin Hancock, Lauren Langlois and Alisdair Macindoe
PICA Performance Space, Perth Cultural Centre
30 July - 2 August
Salamanca Arts Centre, Hobart
6 - 9 August
Performance Space, Sydney
13 - 17 August
Arts House, Melbourne
20 - 24 August