Wearing Away Our Lips (FringeTIX)
Playground @ Viva Function Centre
7:00pm, Sun 9 Mar 2008
A tough one, this. After the strength of the dance piece in last year’s [interrobang], I wanted to love – nay, adore – this piece so much; unfortunately, hindsight lets me find more flaws than I would like.
Inasmuch as I can interpret contemporary dance, Wearing Away Our Lips deals with the girl’s night out – from the self-conscious preening, through the frantic dancing, to the morning-after full of regret. I’m pretty certain of that. What I am uncertain of, however, is the quality of the dance therein – and the direction of the piece itself.
First problem: the venue. The Viva provides a great raised stage and a large dance-floor; but the audience surrounds the dance-floor, with very few optimal seating positions. With supporting columns bordering the space, most present would have had obstructed views; an inspired move would have been to plonk the audience on the stage, looking down onto the dancers.
Second problem: the direction. There’s a lovely bit of backlit shadow-screening that bookends the performance, but for half the audience this would have been nigh-on unviewable – either because of obstructed view or angle relative to the screen. Likewise, a fair bit of the dance took place low to the ground – crouches, rolls – and would have made difficult viewing for those not on the very edge of the arena.
Third problem: there’s a five minute pre-recorded video piece half-way through the performance. It was, in a word, awful. I reckon I know what they were aiming for, and I certainly don’t begrudge them a rest during the show, but the video felt horribly amateurish.
As I said before, I really wanted to love this. I very, very much enjoyed the girls’ work last year, but there was just too much wrong with this piece. Their dance in [interrobang] worked because it was a very time-constrained piece in a very space-constrained venue; here, neither of those constraints applied, and the performance sadly suffered for it (though I enjoyed it far, far more than my companion did – she was scathing). Kate and the gang are still on The List – I reckon they’ve still got a good eye for the bigger picture, and a lot of the physical movement was lovely – but with a little more reserved consideration now.