Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Pleasure Principle by Alfie Scalia. Ignite The Dark Jazz Dance Theatre Company.

Before the lights finally dimmed in the main space at Gasworks last night, twenty minutes late, I mumbled something like “even bad dance is tolerable” -- i.e. in a way that bad theatre isn’t. Funny, I really should have heard a cock crowing. Because, Virginia, there is bad dance. Just as there is bad pizza and bad sex.

Exhibit A: Ignite the Dark’s The Pleasure Principle. If you’re going, brace yourselves. It is the most appallingly sexist, unreconstructed, teen boy masturbatory fantasy I've ever had the misfortune to endure. (Well, until interval.)

Seriously, it makes the video for Hot For Teacher look like a work of great sophistication and irony. It makes most booty-shaking rapper videos look vaguely feminist.

Despite the fact that every single woman on the stage is absolutely gagging for it -- in a nine girls for every boy kinda way -- the show still begins with a rape. Macho, bare-chested, smoking guy’s attitude? Hell, I don't want consent. What a guy.

A couple of minutes later, a man shops for a bride. You can guess, I imagine, what parts of the female anatomy were used as a card swipe. (She licks the card provocatively first.) There’s also stylised fucking on an office desk while Madonna asks us to justify our love. And another naff fantasy in which a male teacher fronts an all-girl class.

Another high point is the use of Paula Cole’s song Feelin’ Love. You know the one: “You make me feel like a candy apple all red and horny. You make me feel like I want to be dumb blonde.”

Jordan Vincent assures me that an inflatable doll appears in the second half. I believe she was suffering more than me. (And committed to stay to the end. Looking forward to her review in tomorrow’s Age.)

I tried really hard to focus on the dance (disciplined, committed, occasionally dynamic) and the choreography (banal, repetitive, dinky, with an emphasis on hair lashing) and the quality of the costume design (rather than its all-round sluttiness) but I was too busy plotting an exit route from the auditorium.

Alfie Scalia, the choreographer, and her director Daniel Ryan, use a quotation from The Picture of Dorian Gray as an epigraph: “The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself.”

Me? I’d quote Blake instead of the fictional Lord Henry: “Sooner murder an infant in its cradle than nurse unacted desires.”

And this show is one infant I would have murdered, not nursed.

You have until Saturday to miss it.

The Pleasure Principle by Alfie Scalia. Directed by Daniel Ryan. Ignite The Dark Jazz Dance Theatre Company. Gasworks Theatre.

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Blogger crosbeee said...


9:55 PM  
Blogger Chris Boyd said...

Apologies for the comment moderation, Matt. Comment spam is outa control.

12:21 AM  
Blogger Chris Boyd said...

Jordan Beth Vincent's review is in Friday's Age. It's on-line, here.

2:06 AM  

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