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Print Version

NZ Fringe Festival 2013
Presented by Windy PAE

at Crossways Community Centre, Wellington
From 21 Feb 2013 to 7 Mar 2013
[1 hour]

Reviewed by Amy Tait, 22 Feb 2013

Touched is a unique performance that incorporates movement, live music, spoken word and visual arts to explore the many different facets of human touch.  It is directed by Tommy Truss and presented by the Windy Performing Arts Ensemble at Crossways Community Centre.

The audience are invited in to the performance space a few minutes prior to the starting time of 6pm and greeted by a circle of chairs surrounding the frozen performers.  Immediately I was struck by the unusual layout and intimacy of the setting.  There is nowhere for the performers to hide, but this is also true of the audience. Objects of differing textures are around the room and no sooner were we seated than the performance began.

The performers were awoken by another member of the cast through touch.  There was something special about these moments as they looked into each other's eyes and displayed a genuine connection and acknowledgement.  Intimate moments were continually being witnessed, a feat in such close quarters.    Throughout the piece the ensemble explores the spectrum of ways to touch and be touched; gentle to aggressive, meaningful to flippant.  As the pace of the movement increased, the exchanges between performers become terse, a poignant reflection on modern society. That said, it is not all serious, there are moments of humour and at times you get a glimpse of just how much fun the performers are having.   

The special thing about this show is that it weaves so many art forms together seamlessly.  When the dancers stop in the center of the room, the musicians and artists stop too, creating complete stillness.  The musical accompaniment is fantastic.   There is a wonderful assortment of instruments creating some conventional and some very unique sounds.  The vocals are simply beautiful.

Throughout the performance visual art is being created.  One of the gems of this show are the photos being taken throughout and relayed to a projector.  Kwai Lam has a genuine knack for capturing exchanges and expressions, thus allowing the audience in on moments they may have otherwise missed.

The hour-long performance both entertained and challenged the audience to think about the affects we have on each other.  Half way through we were presented with the opportunity to engage in the performance by way of a box that had been sitting at our feet throughout.  Without giving away the game, what is inside challenges the audience to digest and personalise what they have been watching.   

Touched was crafted by the ensemble, and the result of this is evident as each of the seven dancers are completely invested and committed.  I value a performance that maintains intention throughout and everything about this one seems to fit and flow together with ease.  Each of the audience members would have taken away their own interpretation of this piece, but I am confident that each did indeed take something away.

There are 2 more opportunities to see Touched on Thursday 28th February and Thursday 7th March.  If you are looking for conventional dance and perfect technique then this is not the show for you.  If you like to be challenged and want to experience something new, I would go for it.  It is well worth the $15 admission.

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