Theatre review: Amazing acts of derring do

By Paul Simei-Barton

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Dance, acrobatics and dramatic narrative make for spectacular show.

Love and Money succeeds in integrating the circus spectacular into a dramatic narrative. Photo / Supplied
Love and Money succeeds in integrating the circus spectacular into a dramatic narrative. Photo / Supplied

The Dust Palace has brewed up a volatile concoction with circus acrobatics, contemporary dance and physical theatre shaken into a potent cocktail that is breathtakingly spectacular, sensuously lyrical and often funny.

With Love and Money, the company succeeds in integrating the circus spectacular into a dramatic narrative.

A series of vignettes coalesce into parallel stories about the lives of strippers, and in direct addresses to the audience, the performers frankly discuss the awkwardness of the stripper-client relationship, focusing on how the cash nexus destroys the possibility of genuine intimacy.

Blending physical spectacle into a storyline is not easy, but the synthesis is carried off in an astounding display of precariously balanced chairs and handstands that provides a suitably unstable platform for an interrogation of moral relativism.

At other times the show retains the energy of a traditional circus, with audience anticipation heightened by a succession of ever more marvellous feats of strength and daring.

As the superbly muscled performers appear to effortlessly defy the laws of gravity it is impossible to lose sight of the element of risk as the show dispenses with safety harnesses. The slightest lapse in concentration could be catastrophic.

The danger adds a palpable frisson to the more lyrical moments, such as a tremulous, tumbling aerial ballet set to Hunters & Collectors' indie classic Throw Your Arms Around Me, and pole dance routines that have performers swinging delicately between a see-sawing pair of counterbalanced poles.

The art of clowning is given a wildly energetic workout in a hilarious burlesque on Helen Reddy's seventies feminist anthem I Am Woman that involves a banana, whipped cream and a plastic razor.

The entertainment is enhanced by cabaret-style seating which places the audience at tables dotted around the performance space.

Theatre

What: Love and Money
Where: Tapac until November 24

- NZ Herald

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