BATS Theatre, Wellington

02/03/2015 - 08/03/2015

NZ Fringe Festival 2015 [reviewing supported by WCC]

Production Details

ChoreoCo. 2015 – Just Bet/ween Us

It’s a game… yet not, as winnings are obscured by other variables and modalities of being. But we gamble anyway and each time we choose, define and judge.

With audience interaction, Just Bet/ween Us questions addictions to win and profit, and gambling’s role in the fabric of society, but also dabbles with matchmaking, destiny, corruption, systems and suspense.

So what are we betting on?

Let’s roll the dice…

Claire wishes to thank and acknowledge Xin, Josie, Jeremy, Tess, Melana and Mark for their invaluable artistic contribution, Jason for his awesome sound collaboration, Grace for lighting the way, Anita for popping up just when needed, Richard and Footnote New Zealand Dance for creating platforms to share the dance making process and performance experiences.

Choreographer: Claire O’Neil

Performers: six dancers on short term contract selected from Choreolab 2015: Jeremy Beck, Jose Archer, Tess Hall, Xin Ji, Mark Semple and Melena Khabazi

Venue: The newly restored BATS Theatre

Dates: March 2-7 2015, 6.30pm



Following its successful introduction in 2014, ChoreoCo. 2015 is an initiative t by Footnote New Zealand Dance to create a special company of six dancers on short-term company contracts. Selected from the 30 incredible dancers who attended Footnote Choreolab in January, ChoreoCo. strongly underlines the commitment by Footnote to sustainable and secure careers in dance.

ChoreoCo dancers:  Josie Archer, Jeremy Beck, Tess Hall, Xin Ji, Melana Khabazi, Mark Semple

Improv , Dance , Contemporary dance ,

1 hour

Powerful. Uncomfortable

Review by Lyne Pringle 04th Mar 2015

You are already in there when we arrive, already at the end before we have even begun.

Roll the dice for us ChoreoCo.  We sit back and watch you compete – follow your number into the chasm. Let go of responsibility, somebody dictates, makes the decisions – follow commands – wear emotions like a tee-shirt and dish out senseless cruelty without questioning.

Get hooked into the game until . . . until . . . there is no getting out – the doors lead nowhere and are locked anyway. Rail, scream, whirl, push against, gasp and splutter and speak in a foreign language (that old trick) but nothing works not even an animalistic flail.

Flog the body, toss, extend and twitch, walk your fingers across the forehead as you search inside the brain for logic and reason. Scribble movement in the space or slash your way through, launch yourself into an arc, then fizzle in a heap. Luscious moves on unusual pathways but never enough to capture our kinaesthetic fast twitch; all is chop and interrupt; a duality, a category and you/we have to choose sides. 

The game repeats and repeats, then becomes tedious. Restless and desperate with each other whilst balancing on a thin white line that separates .  Are you north or south? Rum or whiskey? Douglas or Michael (good inside joke) and mumble or mumble – ears straining to catch that one.

At a certain point you lurch and lose traction, round about the first breakdown in the rules and where poor hapless seat-sitters are hauled out on stage – a detour into objectification of the dancer and not the right amount of pay-off before they are ushered back, bemused, confused and sweating. Is this deliberately awkward?

Some good laughs and chuckles along the way and consummate choreo-doreo , the dramaturg wields a wicked wand and when you groovy movers are ‘in the piece’ you are really in and splendid; particularly you, Josie Archer and Xin Ji.

At times you gather – when one of you completely loses to the stagger, to the odds, gets upset by the stack – to appease and glue back together, but the sticky tape can’t hold on the sweat and it’s back to square one in the improvisational hopscotch towards winning – only there is no prize, the goal posts shift and you swim in the ruse.

Penalties are inflicted as you dance in your addiction in your own way, grasping at one another – desperately hauling  into a snarled mess of co-dependence, until centrifugal force hurls you out of this human roulette/Ferris wheel clutch. Tess Hall trapped in a gambling glittery whirl of hair toss and Irish flick.
All falling apart in bannister slide, wall bounce, tea towel swipe and flurry – welcome to the casino of your life where you gamble away your ability to stand.

Flies caught in a web, sucked dry by a spider who makes up the rules, head thrown back, arms imploring until you find a slow bounce, a tiny boogie on the dance floor and we are back where we started – same same but different, all shook up, with dead eye over there and startled eye over there just behind, desperate despair eye in the corner. Fall, play dead, earn applause: then begin again. The croupier bound, gagged and blind crumpled in the corner until she is hauled out tomorrow night.

Stuck, lost, not the tiniest but of hope, not a smidgeon, an incy wincy bit, a glimmer, a crack in the gloom?  No: a sad story of addiction with no happy ending just desperation, and chaos then resignation. Powerful. Uncomfortable.


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