Review- Gestalt- E Side Dance


By: Justine Denning


Oh dear ... if I put it blankly. This show certainly didn't turn out as I expected. Now don't get me wrong, I am a fan of contemporary dance shows and my decisions on this review are not based on my own personal preference. It just was, well ... meh.


There just weren't enough firecracker moments in this show. The greyness of it all seemed to take over. I understand I am sounding overtly critical and maybe I'm focusing too much on the grey. This is contemporary dance, contemporary dance. Anybody who has taken a contemporary dance class will appreciate just how difficult and technical this form of dance is. I did one lesson a year ago and my right thigh has never been the same since. So, I want to make it clear that from the ability aspect of the dancers, I couldn't really complain but I also couldn't remember any stand out performers (and there is usually always a stand out performer) but there you go. 


The problem was the dancers were underused. 'Underused?' I hear you cry. 'The show was an hour and a half of dancing! They didn't stop performing for a second!' Now the reason I declare them as under used was their abilities were not showcased in a way that I found exciting or interesting. I know choreography is capable of so much more when it comes to storytelling and a piece this long really does need an element of storytelling to succeed in captivating attention.


I don't want to hear that 'I simply didn't get it' either, because to be honest, I really didn't understand their intentions as artists. I've watched many dance shows and this one struggled to express something. Perhaps it would help if I set the scene. The show is set on a minimalistic relativity grey set with dancers in equally grey clothes... (There was just a lot of grey in this show, too much GREY.) And the music begins very futuristic and I was reminiscing over the Matrix movie soundtracks. I was understandably excited for this production. I love performances with a futuristic, dystopian vibe and when I heard that techno music I was really digging it. That's right DIGGING it. But then, it all fell flat. The music that promised so much played for far too long with similar sequences. The great thing about powerful music is that it can highlight certain moments for the audience and really make them go 'WOW' but this was playing for so long I was beginning to become aggressively annoyed by it. There needed to be moments of calmness to contrast the powerful music. 


The craziest thing was that when the music finally stopped ringing there was only silence. Silence. I can understand why this may be symbolic but the problem is that it became uncomfortable. Not uncomfortable, in Brechtian way, where I was forced to understand a political/social issue being represented on stage, but in an uncomfortable way that I could hear that the man in the third row seriously needed a lozenger.  This silence really sealed the deal for me on what I believe were poor sequencing choices, it didn't blend enough with the choreography or the transitions. The soundtrack just repeatedly felt like watching an out-of-synch YouTube video that drives you crazy because you have to reboot your laptop. It can become very tiresome very fast.


One great thing that must be said about this show is the lighting. What a fantastic display! Whoever designed those technical aspects on stage deserves a medal for their beautiful elements. (I assume it was Alice Kwong). I did get the opinion that the lighting was used as a substitute to distract the audience from the lack of variety in the show, the lighting was brilliantly designed. The lighting was truly something that stood out, and one memorable occasion, when an actor held a light on stage, it highlighted the exit.


All the same, this is my opinion, and opinions amongst critics are usually heavily divided. By all means, give Gestalt a try, perhaps I didn't like it but you will. 


Gestalt is playing through January 23rd. For more information, click here.

Related articles:

hongkong, dance, review

Rate This Show: 1 2 3 4 5 Audience Rating: 2.7


No comment at the moment.

Post New Comment