Freelance writer – creative – media-maker
Season: 15th-24th October 2009, Tues & Wed @ 7.30pm, Thurs to Sat @ 8pm
Venue: Theatreworks, 14 Acland Street, St Kilda
Collaboration The Project’s Down The Rabbit Hole, a sinister adaptation of the classic Alice’s adventures in wonderland, may well give the children nightmares. For everyone else, this quirky, Tim-Burtonesque reinterpretation of the childhood tale will deliver an entertaining, fun night of dance, showcasing both the considerable talent of its performers and the creativity of its director, Paul Malek.
From start to finish, Down The Rabbit Hole proved a powerhouse of energy, featuring contemporary-edged choreography that spotlighted the characters of Alice and the White Rabbit. Whilst in some sections the music was loud enough to make a case for the provision of ear muffs, overall, the reworked but modern accompaniment energised the atmosphere, and alongside the hypnotic chequered floor and red stage lights, admirably set the scene for the dark tale.
The petite Kim Adam made an excellent Alice, with her clean technique and lines playing second fiddle to her apparent acting ability. As the villainous White Rabbit, Brendan Yeates was outstanding, reaching beyond the limits of choreography to present a truly charismatic interpretation of the character. The partnering sections between the two dancers were full of chemistry, illuminating the White Rabbit’s seductive power over Alice as he led her further and further down the doomed path.
Though hard to believe, the second Act pushed up the energy levels even further, featuring the Mad Hatter’s delightful tea party and the violent Queen of Hearts. This opened the way for more choreographic scenes involving the entire cast. In these sections, Malek demonstrated a good awareness of space and the logistics of ensemble performance, never allowing the choreography to seem messy despite having many characters onstage performing wildly different movements. In line with this, sections in which the dancers performed in unison were employed to great effect, balancing out the freer sections of choreography.
Utterly witty and zany, Down The Rabbit Hole is a great choice for a night out with friends. Unlike many adaptations of classics, which attempt to offer a cerebral, highly intellectualised version of the original, this production doesn’t pretend to be more than it is – an enjoyable work of entertainment. For this reason and many others, Down The Rabbit Hole is a refreshing addition to the Melbourne dance scene.
Published in the December issue of Dance Informa