Where Did It All Go Right? [FringeTIX]
ponydance @ Stag Hotel
9:30pm, Wed 22 Feb 2012
So – upstairs at the Stag. The room’s not available yet, so I stand out on the balcony and watch the world go by; even on a Wednesday night in Pre-Week, there’s still a constant stream of people flowing into and out of The Garden. That Stag balcony is pretty neat, actually; I totally understand why it gets so crowded there, now.
I discover that the room I had been watching for signs of life was not actually the room the performance was in; by the time I realise my mistake, there’s a pretty big crowd in. I snaffle a single seat on the second row behind a row of very Beautiful People and review the précis for Where Did It All Go Right? – “Four people meet in a bar, trying to get out of it… comedy dance theatre.” Right, I’m there… I’m set.
The tiny (and distractingly buxom) Paula O’Reilly appears, shy and smiling, introducing the show as part of the Adelaide Fringe Festival 2012. We’re proud to be invited to the Adelaide Fringe Festival 2012, she elaborates, and without further ado here’s the show, part of Adelaide Fringe Festival 2012. I’m sure there’s a couple more mentions of “Adelaide Fringe Festival 2012” – imbuing the words with a ridiculous feel – within her nervous spiel as she wrings her hands, informing us of the fire exits and providing the general rules for the evening.
The show takes place in front of the platform where Duane Watters inconspicuously DJs throughout, and we’re initially treated to the Boy, Lorcan O’Neill, and the Girl, the dynamically taut Oona Doherty, engaging in some wry nightclub flirting. The looks and brushes develop into more elaborate movements as the two intertwine, but then O’Reilly returns, insisting on claiming the Boy for herself. The dancing becomes combative… and insanely comical.
Can’t Get You Out Of My Head causes a cessation of hostilities as the trio lock-step into Kylie’s familiar dance moves, and O’Reilly calls for a thirty-second “breath break” – nervously counted on the fingers of the troupe. Doherty clamps the hands of a front-rower on her breasts – no problems with audience participation there – but O’Neill is substantially less successful getting a female audience member to dance with him.
And, at this stage, I’m harking back to that “four people meet in a bar” description – and I’m thinking that the fourth person is, cleverly, the audience. But, when the three ponydancers have left the floor (to great applause), Watters – who’d previously been maintaining a geeky demeanour behind the decks – leaps onto the floor and maniacally dances to (a shit cover of) Maniac… the contrast in appearance and enthusiasm is absurd – and bloody hilarious.
If there’s one word to describe ponydance’s act, it’s “exuberant” – even during the seedy-end-of-the-night pieces, there’s a level of energy and enthusiasm in their movements that puts a smile on your face. Add to that the humour they inject into the production, and the obvious sense of camaraderie and fun between the members, and Where Did It All Go Right? winds up being an absolutely joyous piece of comedy dance.