Barista Cats Cafe, Auckland

26/02/2017 - 26/02/2017

Auckland Fringe 2017

Production Details

Make yourself comfortable in the homely lounge at Barista Cats, enjoy some coffee and prepare to be a part of a show like you have never seen before!

Audience interaction (especially with the cats) is highly encouraged.

This venue, unfortunately, doesn’t allow children under the age of 10 to enter in compliance with SPCA guidelines.

Dog people welcome.

Where:BaristaCats Cafe95 Queen St, CBD, Auckland


Ticket Information:

Performance installation , Improv , Dance ,

50 mins

Catacular, catacular, it's really quite spectacular

Review by Kendall Jones 27th Feb 2017

The audience is invited into the performance space and encouraged to sit around the room. Four performers lie in the middle of the space, sprawled in different positions. One performer stands and swishes its tail. Yes, tail; as only two of these ‘performers’ are human, and the rest – cats!

Sarah-Louise Collins and Caitlin Davey present Catacular a dance show with, about and for cats! Presented at Baristacats an Auckland central cat café, where yes you can drink coffee and pat cats. Mixed with some sweet dance moves, what else could you ask for?!

Caitlin approaches Sarah-Louise and removes the fluffy feline slippers she was wearing, revealing a pair of cat-decorated socks. Sarah-Louise arises and begins lithely moving across the floor to the very apt ‘Wild World’ by Cat Stevens. Peeling off her cat socks, she is wearing another pair. She continues removing and displaying her socks, to reveal an impressive collection of funny feline feet covers.

As Sarah-Louise’s solo comes to a close, Caitlin steps forward and the two welcome us to Catacular. What could have been a clunky transition moment is successfully navigated as the two performers embrace the quirk of the space and immediately begin explaining the next segment of their cat show. Catacular presents dance performance moments bookended by cat activities, such as a cat quiz-tacular, blindfolded cat drawing and a sing-a-long cat anthem.

Adorned in entirely ‘cat-ified’ costumes Caitlin and Sarah-Louise have an apparent connection with the cafes inhabitants, and also the possibilities it presents as a performance venue. With no choice of lighting or any backstage areas, the performers embrace the normalcy of the space by interacting with the audience as if we are friends catching up for a coffee.

For the second item in the cat show, the performers invite the audience to help compose a cat choreography. The audience choose cat personalities for the dancers, and share cat facts that were given to us as we entered the space, in a cat printed envelope of course. Caitlin and Sarah-Louise structure existing movement phrases into an original sequence to perform as per the cat facts read aloud.

As the dancers move in this moment, and throughout Catacular, it is evident these choreographers have engaged with an intent study of their stimuli, though I am sure cat cuddles are not the most taxing form of dance research. The artists create interesting movement patterns that, considering the space and its inhabitants, are undoubtedly feline inspired, though removed from a charade-like act. The dancers throw a ball of yarn and play with a table of mugs, yet embody the movements in a way that goes past play, to a demonstration of choreographic maturity, despite the fun nature of the show.

Caitlin performs what was intended to be a duet with a cafe cat as a solo, due to the lack of cat enthusiasm to dance at that moment. She is blindfolded, moving across the space with both intricate and extended leg motions. There are multiple moments where a crash into a table or person seems imminent, but Caitlin never fails to successfully land on her ‘two feet’ moving with a seemingly feline sense. A cat cliché is again satisfyingly embodied in an engaging performance moment, not a literal representation.

For me, Catacular is a timely reminder that art can be silly, and it can be happy. I won’t leave this show with existential questions or politically charged notions, but I leave with a smile on my face and a cat anthem playing over in my head (Catacular, catacular, it’s really quite spectacular…) both of which, I think, the world needs a little bit more of.




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