oh where, collective @ Arcade Lane – Regent One
9:45pm, Sat 27 Feb 2010
So – I’m flipping through the Fringe Guide, and I read the following: “EGG is a contemporary dance and audio visual exploration.” And, quick as a flash, I decide: I am so there… but with a limited run (only three nights!) it took a bit of juggling to squeeze in.
This performance saw me wander down Arcade Lane for the first time – and, whilst the massive crowds who checked out the Festival light-show at Victoria Park dissipated into the city, only the focussed seemed to be wandering into the Lane on this Saturday night. There were precious few curious or accidental walk-ins; only the peeps who were there for a show (like me), or the hipsters who tagged this bar (with its odd little grass patches) as the place-to-be, were in attendance. Was there something on the little stage, there? Or was it just people wandering up from the bar? Was anything being performed? It was hard to tell.
So – EGG is about to start, and the twenty-odd patrons followed our ticketmaster up the back stairs into one of the old Regent Cinemas. The cinemas are stripped and gutted now, of course, all bare concrete and rough walls; thin and threadbare cushions are on the front steps, with cold metal seats behind.
As we walk in, the performers stand in front of paper screens, harshly lit; they’re standing in place, but jiggling limbs ever-so-slightly. It’s unnerving, and there’s a genuine sense of apprehension amongst the audience. Suddenly, the light changes, and there’s a cacophony of white noise: the performers jump to life, their movements sporadic and extravagant and almost incoherent. It’s discordant… and exciting.
Now – I’d be lying if I said I found a common thread, or a coherency, to the performance; the performer’s movements appeared to be largely self-contained and individualistic. The appearance of the titular egg coagulated the group, and an inexplicable appearance of a horse head fragmented; live drumming propelled the piece along in a satisfyingly bewildering manner. The hanging sheets of paper that constituted the set, used both as a projection surface (for filmed ambience) and as a facilitator for shadow-play, were an inspired decision; anything that involves light & shadow almost immediately gets a thumbs-up from me.
EGG proved to be one of those utterly nutball experiences that you can only really see at the Fringe; cheaply produced with plenty of imagination, but providing plenty of memorable images that linger in the mind long after the performance has ended. First performed in the Melbourne Fringe, I’m so glad that “oh, where collective” (or is it “oh where, collective”? Both are on their official items, including the cool bookmark(?) with sewn edges and scribbly egg diagram) managed to get over to Adelaide for this weekend; I left this performance bemused and delighted.