PULP (The Dust Palace)
Hamilton Gardens, Harkness Henry’s Emporium of Scintillating Wonders,, Hamilton
29/02/2020 - 29/02/2020
Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival 2020
The Dust Palace
On the eve of (mis)adventure.
Join the revelry as old as the world, the party that began at the beginning of time.
Pulp is a spree of revelment and debauchery. Inspired by Persephone’s choice to eat the seed and become queen of the Underworld, this tour through beauteous physical possibility delves into the sexual psyche with an appetizing, daredevil look at the decisions we make.
Reckless, heroic, divine: Pulp is a collection of firm, sumptuous flesh, ready to be consumed and offered in genuine excitement. Come, set fire to your insides.
The Dust Palace are New Zealand’s leading contemporary cirque company; featuring jaw-dropping physical feats alongside beautiful musings on the human condition.
“Astonishing feats of daring …there are times when you doubt you saw them do what ought to be impossible.” – NZ Herald
Saturday 29 Feb, 8pm
$42 General Admission
Featuring Ellyce Bisson, Geoff Gilson, Taz Davies, Edward Clendon and Eve Gordon
Truly astonishing, exhilarating and jaw dropping
Review by Dr Debbie Bright 02nd Mar 2020
According to their Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival (HGAF) blurb and echoed in The Dust Palace website (https://thedustpalace.co.nz/ ): The Dust Palace are New Zealand’s leading contemporary cirque company, featuring jaw-dropping physical feats alongside beautiful musings on the human condition.
This show is certainly a feast of cirque and physical theatre, with hints of revelry and sexual psyche and ‘musings on the human condition’, as referred to in the HGAF blurb.
Each section of the presentation is preceded by recorded segments of spoken poetry, reflections and musings. These verbal segments are entitled Chapters 1 to 5, and we are given the chapter number and its theme at the beginning and end of each spoken section. We are then treated to a series of vignettes in which the performers appear to explore all of the possible opportunities for balance, strength, trust and confident acrobatic skill on each of the shapes and props alluded to below.
The three men and two women presenting the work are stunning in their fitness, strength, flexibility and courage; all the while projecting a calm confidence and mutual trust, as they perform high risk and high skill-level acrobatics without harnesses or safety nets. Their aerial acrobatics are particularly spectacular and ‘jaw-dropping’, as they balance, contort, interact and hang from each other and a series of suspended forms – trapeze, ring, cube, birdcage, etc. These aerial exploits are interspersed with ground-level sequences of dance, and acrobatic feats performed with each other and with additional props – wheelbarrow, large ring, enormous red balloons… – and more reflective moments within the spectator area: musings at a birdbath, and dancing, balances and ‘posings’ to the side and on unoccupied spectator chairs.
The music – a series of songs from various genres – reminds me, at times, of Medieval music, of folk ballads, of European physical theatre, of house music, of driving rhythmic rock music and, periodically, of the types of music often used in the Cirque de Soleil performances that have appeared in New Zealand.
The costumes are tasteful, colourful and practical, the women in fitted suits (one with short overskirt and the other without) and headgear, and the men usually bare-chested with loose- or tighter-fitting trousers.
There are numerous memorable moments, but none more so than the stunning and danger-fraught sequence in which two of the men swing one of the women between them in what appears to be an endless series of changes of hold, positioning, direction and motion. During this sequence the performers frequently dust their hands at the sides of the stage, while I experience Intense breath-holding moments as, yet again, I fervently do not wish to imagine what could happen if any of the performers slipped.
A truly astonishing, exhilarating and ‘jaw dropping’ experience.
Kia ora to The Dust Palace. Your work is unique in New Zealand and your skill, dedication and sheer hard work cannot be questioned. Thank you.
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