S/Words And Unfolding @ Space Theatre, Adelaide 14/3/2021

Words become (s)words in the hands of revolutionaries and activists.

Lewis Major’s double header S/Words and Unfolding at this year’s Adelaide Festival of Arts highlights the work of this home-grown talented choreographer.

The show opens with Unfolding, a lyrical piece for four very talented dancers who explore the unfolding nature of relationships. These movements are elegantly subtle and sublime and blend beautifully with some of the most spectacular lighting created by the masterful Fausto Brusamolino. The lights start subtly with simple linear movements which then playfully distort into ambiguous shapes that create a sense of dizzying vertigo. James Brown’s music works synergetically with the lights and choreography.

For S/Words Major brings together a blend of 12 actors and dancers who are flung together in a room and seem to compose a manifesto for change as the world around them burns. Major pays homage to Martha Graham’s Bathsheva Dance Company and Lloyd Newson’s DV8 with tropes that include the signature sitting in rows with very distinctive hand gestures.

Amidst the flames outside their building, the dancers / actors, appear to compose a manifesto, plot and incite activism and revolutionary fervour while dancing around victoriously with the white flag of peace. In an interview Major said, “S/Words is like the last show to end the world…the party as the Titanic sinks. But at the same time, it’s a metaphor for building the new society that we’d like to have.”

This party has some toe-tappingly spirited Balkan, Klezmer and Romani tunes and equally infectious folk inspired dance routines. The Russian folk tune “Bublichki” is a fitting end to this uplifting and inspired performance.

There is much youthful exuberance and idealism in this double header.

A fitting way to finish the 2021 Adelaide Festival of Arts.

Adelaide Festival Review By Bob Becker