Puncture

Lynne Lancaster

A collaboration between Form Dance, Legs on the Wall and Vox/Sydney Philharmonia Choir Major makes for theatre magic.
Puncture

Image: Sydney Festival

Puncture is an extraordinary collaboration between Form Dance, Legs on the Wall and Vox/Sydney Philharmonia Choirs in a thrilling, dangerous, hot and sweaty, inspired and uplifting theatrical treat. One of, if not the best, show of this year’s Sydney Festival, Puncture hurtled onto the stage at Parramatta and left us breathless.

The idea is based on the observation that dancing in public is high on the list of things people fear most. This work aims to be like the needle that breaks the surface so that what's inside can be seen, and succeeds superbly.

Upon entrance, the audience is seated on three sides of the stage of the specially reconfigured large Parramatta theatre, with one wall left for the excellent orchestra, ropes, space for technical effects and also the choir at certain points throughout the performace.

Inspired by the great songwriters, from Monteverdi to Madonna, musically it ranges from acapella voices repeating and exploring a single phrase to military bands, hot and sexy tango, formal sixteenth century court dances, showbiz musicals and everything in between. Stefan Gregory, Luke Byrne and percussionist Bree van Reyk have developed an amazing snapshot of the history of music and Vox/Sydney Philharmonia Choir are sensational. The 30 strong choir are arranged in simple blocks of movement or stand at the back while the dancers enthrall kinetically .

Much use is made of projections on the side walls – a kaleidoscope of various images of multiple cardboard cutouts, silhouettes, shadows, reflections and (among other things) joyous bubbles.

Choreographically it includes dizzying, dazzling, flying acrobatics, snippets of contemporary dance (with possible shades of Graeme Murphy ,Rafael Bonachela and Sir Kenneth MacMillan). There is rolling floor work and much fun is had with the inclusion of line and folk like circle dances. Various styles of social dance are also included waltz, tango, and jitterbug as well as rippling ensemble work contrasted with stately, grounded court dances. Some audience members were invited to dance at various points with the cast members. The exultant, passionate ending was sort of a contemporary reworking perhaps of ‘The Rite of Spring’ with magnificent performances by Chan and Thomson , followed by a low buzzing at first then huge crashing wall of sound as the Vox/Sydney Philharmonia Choir invade the space again and acknowledge the audience.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Puncture
Parramatta Riverside
Legs on the Wall and Vox – Sydney Philharmonia Choirs

Director Patrick Nolan
Composer Stefan Gregory
Choreographer Kathryn Puie

21 - 25 January, 2015

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.