Bromance

Lynne Lancaster

CARRIAGEWORKS: Fresh from performances as part of Melbourne's 'New Wave' festival, Performance Space and Carriageworks brings us 'Bromance', a celebration of homosociality, choreographed by Alisdair Macindoe and Adam Synnott.
Bromance
Fresh from performances as part of Melbourne's 'New Wave' festival, Performance Space and Carriageworks brings us Bromance, a celebration of homosociality, choreographed by Alisdair Macindoe and Adam Synnott. To quote from the programme: “from childhood mischief though to adult relationships, brotherhood is a lifelong negotiation of trust and honour laden with competition, comparison and responsibility. Based on a true interest in each other, the companionship offered by brotherhood has a huge impact on men's lives and their understanding of love.” Delving into the psyche of young men in their early twenties, Bromance is co-choreographed by Macindoe and Synnott drawing on their experience of growing up as younger brothers in Australia. It questions why male platonic love is rarely celebrated in art or literature. Bromance also asks what is at risk when opening up a discourse on brotherly love. Fast paced, casual and oh so athletic, the work begins with two young men in t-shirts, hoodies and jeans mirroring each other's movements under the bleak fluoro lighting. In a while, after a blackout, they are joined by two of their friends to create a series of cinematic like scenes. Most of the choreography is a development of ordinary everyday movement yet it is performed with great precision to create an ideal of harmony. It starts slowly with the two walking in square or diagonal lines and at times interrupting the movement spurts with short sequences of gestures. An underlying hint of humour is combined with an aura of coolness and formality. The occasional contemporary dance phrase is complemented by a unison sequence of star jumps for example. The opening section folds into an extended cinematic freeze-frame slow-mo sequence of spotlit tableaux where a man (Serle) is the victim of bullies. There are also, riotous football barracking snippetts. Later, the mood shifts to sequences with more quick energy in the choreography and joking duets that include references to video games, break-dancing and there is an extended ‘stream of consciousness' duet, two mates hanging around town, almost delightfully nonsensical. The ritual formality of a simple handshake is also exploited and turned into fabulous choreography and percussive rhythm. Each move aims to encapsulate the essential qualities of 'masculine' movement. As in Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake every aspect of the male psyche is translated into poetry in motion, depicting the bravado, uncertainty, macho swagger, suspicion and also the 'feminine side' of being a male in the twenty-first century. The work looks at what growth, conflict, camaraderie, trust, honour and loyalty among other things mean when being a male in this day and age. You can see not only Bourne's influence but that of Guerin and Obarzanek in this work. The futuristic space ship like ending with a circle of light ended the work on an element of hope and humour. The cinematic snappy lighting incorporating fades and blackouts, also devised by Macindoe and Synnott, is crucial to the production. The large space of Bay 20 sometimes looks like a cold, bleak parking lot, at times fading so the dancers can appear in another tableau. Synnott also designed the exciting video effects. A most exciting piece from two brilliant members of the new wave of contemporary choreographers. BROMANCE CARRIAGEWORKS 245 Wilson Street Eveleigh, 2015 Running time: just over 45 minutes
What the stars mean?
  • Five stars: Exceptional, unforgettable, a must see
  • Four and a half stars: Excellent, definitely worth seeing
  • Four stars: Accomplished and engrossing but not the best of its kind
  • Three and a half stars: Good, clever, well made, but not brilliant
  • Three stars: Solid, enjoyable, but unremarkable or flawed
  • Two and half stars: Neither good nor bad, just adequate
  • Two stars: Not without its moments, but ultimately unsuccessful
  • One star: Awful, to be avoided
  • Zero stars: Genuinely dreadful, bad on every level

About the author

Lynne Lancaster is a Sydney based arts writer who has previously worked for Ticketek, Tickemaster and the Sydney Theatre Company. She has an MA in Theatre from UNSW, and when living in the UK completed the dance criticism course at Sadlers Wells, linked in with Chichester University.