Some of you may remember Quantum Leap’s “My sister, my brother” back at the beginning of August. Contemporary dance, young people, Canberra’s own. Well, for reasons I won’t even speculate about, it didn’t get reviewed in the august local newspaper. But, local theatre critic Bill Stephens saw it, and wrote a review, which I reproduce below unedited. Did you see it? What did you think? Or, did you avoid it? Why? [Conflict of interest: I am employed by QL2 , home of Quantum Leap]
- MY SISTER, MY BROTHER – Presented by Quantum Leap in the Canberra Playhouse.30th July until 2nd August 2008
Reviewed by Bill Stephens.
To the side of the stage a young woman in an armchair sits in front of a television set, apparently intently absorbed. What is she watching? How is it affecting her? Is her mind really on the events on the television set?
The opening moments of My Sister, My Brother, the latest offering by Quantum Leap, sets up an intriguing series of questions, which are then explored in a series of tightly choreographed sequences, as the work unfolds. Each of the sequences is choreographed by a different choreographer, to specially composed music, and deals with themes of concern to the young participating dancers such as indifference, status, interaction and belonging, and all connected by an overarching theme, in this case, dis-connectivity brought about by watching television.
The choreographers, Patrice Smith, Paul White, Carol Wellman, Alice Holland, Paul Zivkovich are all skilled in the use of mass movement to achieve spectacular results, and each had worked hard to highlight the group strengths of the ensemble, rather than the individual dancers. Ruth Osborne and Vivienne Rogis designed clever linking sequences to allow the work to flow cohesively and seamlessly. The technical skills of the 46 young dancers varied considerably, but the best were very good indeed, and even though it was difficult to identify individual performers, the athletic efforts of the young male dancers once again drew gasps from the audience. Technically the performance was astonishing.
Clever use of filmed and computer images, and of especially composed music, combined with attractive costumes by Victoria Worley, brought a sense of professionalism to the production. So why was it then, that despite all this excellent work, I left the theatre with a sense of deja vu, with my mind filled with questions?
Hadn’t I seen all this last year? Weren’t the themes explored in My Sister, My Brother too similar to those explored in Unspeakable? Does it matter? Are the choreographers limited by the skills of the dancers available to them? Are the dancers limited by the vocabulary of the choreographers? Will next year’s offering by Quantum Leap be more of the same?
— Bill Stephens