The sights, the sounds, the smells, and the exhilaration of the competition are unique to ten-pin bowling. They make it an immersive and entertaining experience, one shared by many globally. Michelle Ryan, Artistic Director of Restless Dance Theatre, has always had an affinity with bowling. Thus, it is unsurprising that her latest directorial project, Guttered, commissioned for the 2021 Adelaide Festival, is centred on the sport. But Guttered is also considerably more.
Restless Dance Theatre’s mission is to design and perform unexpectedly real dance theatre that is collaboratively formulated, inclusive and informed by disability. Guttered implements this mission in a humorous, whimsical, and intelligent fashion. Staged at Kingpin Norwood for a wholly enveloping experience, engagement occurs upon entering the arena where spectators converse directly with the performers. As the audience is being seated, the dancers saunter almost unnoticed onto the lanes. In formation, they warm up synchronously to a meditative soundtrack.
When the performance commences, Ryan’s direction, Jason Sweeney’s musical soundscape, Geoff Cobham’s lighting and Meg Wilson’s design harmonise with the talented ensemble cast to create a poignant feast of the senses.
A contemporary dance performance, Guttered draws upon multi-media and human movement to tell a story that is at times as heart-breaking as it is heart-warming. Themes akin to being permitted to risk-take and the gaze of the onlooker emerge among vignettes of hatred, love, victimisation, sensuality, winning, losing, and well-meaning intentions. Each is articulated with passion and professionalism by the ensemble – Kathryn Adams, Darcy Carpenter, Jianna Georgiou, Harrison Elliott, Alexis Luke, Michael Noble and Charlie Wilkin. Together with Ashton Malcolm and Isi Sweeney, they share a noticeable comradery and sense of ease with each other. This familiarity spawns authenticity and generates a personable quality to the performance.
Guttered is an engaging, unique dance performance and immersive experience. It expresses a sentiment from a specific point of view few would be familiar with and does so in a charming and highly entertaining fashion. It is an event not to missed this Adelaide Festival.
Adelaide Festival Review By Anita Kertes
For show info and tickets to Guttered head to the Adelaide Festival