Theatre review: With a Stranger by Dust Palace, Tapac

By Paul Simei-Barton

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Drama of meetings where anything can happen played out.

Zach Washer opens the breathtaking production. Photo / Supplied
Zach Washer opens the breathtaking production. Photo / Supplied

In the latest circus-cabaret from Dust Palace, a breathtaking display of acrobatic finesse conjures up a spiralling sequence of images based on the capricious delights that come from risking an encounter with a stranger.

The company's dedication to their craft is manifest in an ever-expanding repertoire of circus techniques, while the remarkable elasticity and strength of the performers testifies to a rigorous regime of training and exercise.

The show opens with Zach Washer taking his chances inside a large spinning hoop that amplifies the vertiginous acceleration that occurs when a spinning coin tilts.

Mike Edward introduces a touch of Chaplinesque humour as a workman taking on the Sisyphean task of ascending a silk rope that is constantly descending. His short-lived triumphs are inevitably followed by tumbling falls that leave him dangling upside down like the Hanged Man of Tarot.

A serious demonstration of athleticism comes as Edward and Eve Gordon strip down to their underpants for a duet that shows amazing strength, poise and flexibility.

A similar series of duets establish a lucid melancholy tone punctuated by moments of intimacy that celebrate the joys of fearless physicality.

In a sweetly flirtatious routine, Rochelle Mangan and Zach Washer use each other as mobile platforms for an exquisitely balanced series of yoga poses and in one of the show's highlights the petite Rochelle Mangan is tossed and twirled between two partners like a rag doll.

The mood is enhanced by some artfully atmospheric lighting and a hypnotic soundtrack of indie style music featuring the likes of the Chemical Brothers and Bon Iver.

With cabaret-style seating and a well-stocked bar, the show offers an engagingly intimate circus experience with a distinctly art-house flavour.


What: With a Stranger by Dust Palace
Where: Tapac, to June 22.

- NZ Herald

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