A HIGHLY INTELLIGENT AND ENTERTAINING EXPERIENCE
Created by Jo Randerson and Kate McIntosh in collaboration with Footnote Dance
at Opera House, Wellington
From 1 Mar 2011 to 2 Mar 2011
Reviewed by Amy Hughson, 2 Mar 2011
Highly acclaimed Jo Randerson and Kate McIntosh have collaborated to create a vibrant, insightful and entertaining performance piece. Footnote Dance Company present this hour-long performance that keeps the audience in the palm of its hand from start to finish as it explores human nature and the political dynamics of a group.
Hullapolloi has a strong comedic vein as it portrays the humour in the human instinct to stay with the crowd, but it also asserts some darker and less desirable facets of human nature as it explores conformity and the need to control others. It questions what is normal and acceptable, and who gets to decide.
Each dancer's face is covered by their costume, meaning that communication with the audience relies solely on physical expression, which is impeccably achieved. Not one movement is wasted or superfluous, but instead the movements are instrumental to the development of the ideas and themes of the piece. This results in a highly intelligent and entertaining experience, in which each movement is eagerly anticipated.
The cleverly designed costumes allow the dancers to create visually effective shapes, adding to the physical comedy of the piece. Seemingly unassuming props are used to alter the shape and appearance of the performers, symbolising breaking away from the group and a shift from innocence and purity. The addition of these props to the full body suits displays that as we try to change ourselves we may find that sometimes those changes cannot be undone.
From start to finish the dancers remain on stage, requiring a huge amount of energy and making this piece very physically demanding. There is often a lot happening on stage, adding to the spectacle and enhancing the effectiveness of the synchronised sections, rather than creating clutter.
This work uses a clever compilation of music and sounds which correspond directly with the actions and intentions of the movement. The dancers also contribute vocally to the performance, weaving their breath into the soundtrack.
The relatively small audience reacted responsively throughout with clear appreciation. Unfortunately for Wellington theatre-goers there are only two performances of Hullapolloi and one of them has passed. If you have the opportunity to go along this evening I strongly recommend you do; you will not be disappointed.
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Jonathan W. Marshall
Dr Linda Ashley