Flesh approach lacks artistry
REVIEW: In Flagrante Produced by Flagrant Productions Theatre Royal Reviewed by Judith Ritchie.
Unlike most shows advertised in this town, In Flagrante - (caught in the act), sold out almost immediately. At a time when burlesque revival is hot, coupled with a provocative spiel, and the expectation of seeing a show by acclaimed choreographer Mary Jane O'Reilly, we were promised a show of flesh in movement with a bit of the "deviant" and the "hilarious".
Just as the set was pared down, so were the six young dancers, each introducing themselves in the first of a series of short acts, wearing minimal flesh coloured undergarments, with a face-guard covering mouth and nose. Throughout the whole show, movements were slow, slightly stilted and ungainly, and when performed as a group, often slightly out of sync. This was uncomfortable to watch and the audience seemed to pick up on it.
A common theme running through a number of the acts was a sense of repression, both in the choice of props and movement. In one act the dancers were cuffed, dancing jerkily, crouching positions reminiscent of self-protection.
In another act a "male" dancer wearing an oversized cod-piece, repeatedly beats a female with his cane.
She remains submissive until the end, firing back with an expletive as he exits stage; too late to take action against his violent attacks. Was this irony?
The theme continued; in another act, the trainer puts the dancer through her paces, tied by reins, never free or truly able to express herself. We did see some beautiful moves from dancer Maria Munkowits, her taut body leaning away from and twisting around the reins that bound her.
The lighting was brilliant throughout, highlighting the dancers well-toned bodies and the music from Klaus Waldeck's album Ballroom Stories was alluring, sensuous, and suitably enticing. Costumes were artistic, especially during the Pony Girls act, in which the dancers wore leather harnesses, girdles and guards over their mouths and noses. Overall, the choreography seemed stilted and under-developed, and no matter how many jiggling bottoms and pert breasts moved about the stage, it just wasn't engaging enough. So by the final act which really brought the dancing together, the show just stopped.
No-one stomped their feet, cheered madly and clapped insanely, or appeared to want any more. A nightclub show at best, but not one that lived up to the marketing spiel.
- © Fairfax NZ News