• Photo: Heidrun Lohr
    Photo: Heidrun Lohr

Riverside Theatres Parramatta, 28 February

With an intent to “portray musical ideas physically and dance ideas musically”, Recital brings together percussionist Claire Edwardes and dancer Richard Cilli. Directed by Gideon Obarzanek and presented by FORM Dance Projects as part of the new March Dance festival, Recital is imbued with a clear sense of play; playing instruments, playing games and playing with the audience.

With clear choreographic intent, the sophistication of this work lies in the blurring of lines between dancer and musician and the relationship between the two performers. Playing her instruments Edwardes danced without apparent effort. Her physicality was immensely satisfying to watch. A perfect technician, Cilli moved like a sound wave, activating different parts of his body in response to different sounds. His nuance, control and detail were very much in evidence in this role.

Clear transitions between each scene clearly establish separate “experiments” and allow the relationship between the two performers to constantly change. They could be two strangers crossing each other on the street, co-workers with their office appropriate costumes or strange lovers – who are siblings. During a game of slaps, the percussive, playful theme is clear again. The pair attempt to slap each other whilst going down on one knee – marriage proposal style – and ultimately to the floor. In a later scene this develops into wrestling, ending with three surrendering percussive taps on the floor. I enjoyed the play on their weirdly wonderful relationship.

Recital alludes to the rhythm of life; the individual ticking metronome to which we are all responsive. There is an understanding that we each have our own rhythm which, at times, syncs up with someone beside us, then gently shifts back to our own timing.

The work also reminds us of cause and effect and this larger chain of answerability; Edwardes responds to recorded electronic sounds by Paul Mac, her xylophone responds to her mallets, Cilli moves to all the sounds. It all culminates with the lights changing between a sunset orange to sky blue, faster and faster; as though the speed of the day and our movements in it are gradually increasing.

Recital is a work that you could listen to with your eyes closed, or watch while not listening. But you don’t want to because the interaction of the elements is full of delights.

Although Recital’s season has finished, March Dance continues throughout March.

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