Review: Twisted Element's Ritual

Ritual is a meditative and trance-like performance with sudden explosions and changes of mood and tone.
Review: Twisted Element's Ritual

Twisted Element's Ritual. Supplied.

Ritual is the latest exciting work from Twisted Element and is incredibly directed by Angela Hamilton. Twisted Element is known for their experimental and subversive work, and Ritual did not disappoint.

A strong, powerful and immersive work looking at various elements of assorted rituals, this is a multi-layered and thought-provoking performance exploring cultism, ceremony and mass conditioning.

Most of the performance is based on liturgical services. There are elements of Christian ritual, but there are also references to the daily grind of working in an office, as well as the way some artists have a ritual to stimulate creativity. Also depicted is the ritual of death and dying, and trying to raise someone from the dead.

The extended opening sequence is based on a Holy Communion and also Pentecostal ritual. The audience is immersed in the performance – as they enter the space they stand around a large table. Four members of the audience are chosen to sit. The cast members then enter and sit. There is the ritualistic handing out of what appears to be black bread and then a sequence which seems to be about speaking in tongues. As the dancers silently laugh and point at each other one cast member has an incredibly dramatic solo on the table.

Further into the performance, a dramatic entrance is made by one of the dancers wearing glasses that light up, then the other cast members join her in a striking procession. Towards the end of the performance every audience member is given a pair of said glasses to wear – which can be taken as a symbol of a spiritual journey.

Ritual is meditative, trance-like and hypnotic performance with sudden explosions and changes of mood and tone.

The lighting is sharp, fractured and atmospheric at times. The soundtrack pulses, thrums, hums and is eerie where appropriate. Hamilton’s choreography is edgy and stylised with the work tightly synchronised.

For the final segment we all sit on the floor and the cast are behind us in a circle of movement. Ritual is a powerful and hypnotic work.

Rating: 4 stars ★★★★

Twisted Element 

22-23 February 2019
107 Redfern Street, Redfern, Sydney

Lynne Lancaster

Thursday 28 February, 2019

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.