Evocative and engrossing physical theatre
By Leeor Adar
Theatre Press was lucky to sit in once again for Dislocate’s If These Walls Could Talk…? for the Glow Winter Arts Festival 2017. Dislocate’s marvellous physical theatre finds a memorable home with slapstick comedy and the melancholy. If you think you’re in for some light physical comedy, you would be delighted to find that Dislocate’s artists are excellent acrobats, but even more brilliant storytellers.
Dislocate was founded in 1998 by Kate Fryer and Geoffrey Dunstan for the purpose of showcasing high-quality circus acts alongside powerful narratives. They have toured extensively over the years, and were nominated for a Helpmann Award for Best Physical or Visual Theatre in 2015.
In this 2017 production, our four performers, director Fryer, Dunstan, Luke Taylor and Sam Aldham embody the lives of several decades of residents in an apartment. Generation after generation of inhabitants, starting from the 1960s, find themselves embarking on the harrowing highs and lows of life. At the close of each ‘life’ segment, the ensemble sweep in to dismantle the space in preparation for the next arrivals.
The performance is littered with polarities – on one hand we find ourselves admiring the devotion of an elderly couple remembering their youth and first flush of love for one another, and then despair when we see that they quietly follow through into mutual tragedy, and this theme continues throughout the production. Other sequences include the spirit of a lover haunting their living loved one as they groove to the music of the 1970s, and the tragi-comic suicide attempts of a man whose attempts are foiled by the higher powers of a faulty window and high-functioning ceiling lamp.
It’s unsurprising this production brings audiences in the droves and attracts critical acclaim – I laughed, gasped and sighed, all the while at the edge of my seat. If you have the chance to catch Dislocate in action, I would highly recommend it.
If These Walls Could Talk…? was performed from Thursday 17 – Saturday 20 August at Chapel Off Chapel. To keep up to date with Dislocate’s work, visit their website here: http://www.dislocate.com.au/web/Home.html