Farrell Cox Ambivalence
Sababa Bar Company Aize Balagan
Luigi & Kashish Dance The Last Orchard
The root of tonight’s Resolution was eccentricity, taking us on a peculiar trip to the Circus with some fruity treats along the way…
A bath tub fills the centre of the space, the struggling shadow of a silhouette visible on the shower curtain until choreographer and performer Farrell Cox appears to trudge her way past invisible forces into sight. Ambivalence boldly explores themes of mental health, eating disorders and the ultimatum of suicide. Heightened facial expressions, risky feats of strength and dizzying aerial hoop work are undeniably captivating and spectacular to watch, but skittish flitting between sections meant that ideas became muddled and the clarity of the piece was sometimes compromised.
The circus experience continued into the second piece of the night, this time with a paradoxical clown-like influence. Hysteria to nonchalance. Manic laughter to inconsolable sobbing. Party hats to hammers. Sababa Bar Company’s Aize Balagan was an amusing oxymoron, exploring the emotions faced during the ending of a relationship. A vibratory bounce inhabited the boundless facility of each performer as effortless kicks and tilts were partnered with high-tension full body quivers. Intentionally awkward highlights included the spitting of slushy strawberries at the audience and whipping up a smoothie on stage.
From strawberries to apples, the nutritious evening concluded with Luigi & Kashish Dance’s The Last Orchard. Concealed apples amongst green and red balls flooded the stage as the two committed performers bounded their way through, referencing the tale of Adam and Eve and questioning “Why she and not he? Why red and not green? Why explain and not let it be?”. Movement dove from whip-lash inducing jerks of the body to silkier contact work, accompanied by live musician Arthur Rivas who was an asset to the piece. A light-hearted take on a serious theme with some room for further development.
Before an unusually large and supportive audience, Farrell Cox dives, jives and flies precariously through an emotional landscape of mental health issues, with suicide her ultimate goal. Her versatility as a dancer, acrobat and aerialist transports her to many different physical planes: submerged in a bath, cavorting around its edges or propelled skywards on her trapeze. A thrillingly expressive performer, Cox captivates us in her action and word suggesting a woman whose will to live is dwindling. While sobering, Ambivalence’s potentially hard-hitting edge is diluted by its over-layering of ideas and metaphors. The solo become ponderous and technical showiness at times distracts away from the meat of the work.
Aize Balagan surprises, despite its theme of a defunct relationship. Dressed identically in dapper waistcoats and slacks, four sassy women squeezed together in a square of light are pissed off. Rhythmically precise, they shrug, twitch and grimace before breaking out of their tight formation in pursuit of other ways to express their fury and hurt: lip- syncing to jazz, reciting poetry, spitting out strawberries. They cavort around in a bumpy yet structured display of jerks and lunges, tension wracking their bodies. Part mime-artists, part Riot Grrrls, their aesthetic is refreshingly uncompromising and brilliantly funny. My affection for them grows every minute as they find inventive ways to vent their rage – a food blender and a hammer brings down the house in roars.
Luigi Ambrosio & Kashish Gaba walk purposefully across the stage littered with green and red balls. Nothing can stop them on their rigid pathways through The Orchard. They are a picture of control and poise. What makes this pair so hilarious is their deadpan expression as they go about their business exploring the Adam and Eve story from a non-binary perspective; guitarist Arthur Riva’s quirky strumming adds more comedy. All hell breaks out physically when Ambrosio bites into the forbidden apple and the performers driven by some manic force hurl themselves bionically around the space. Although they regain some sort of composure it’s not the same. Crunching their apples subversively, they exit and forget to return.