Chunky Move’s Keep Everything

Chunky Moves in action. Pic Anthony Hamilton
Chunky Moves in action. Pics Anthony Hamilton 

Part of the ‘Score’ Festival of Sound and Movement presented by Performance Space at Carriageworks, this is a fresh, challenging work by Chunky Move from Melbourne, directed by and choreographed by Anthony Hamilton. Their current Sydney season is part of a current national tour.

Hamilton uses spoken word, repetition of sounds, repeated phrases of movement and improvised movement sequences to follow human evolution from primates to robots and space exploration and back again. It celebrates our primal need to interact with one another. Director and choreographer Antony Hamilton came up with his new show after asking himself the questions:- what if I created a work from ideas he had discarded in the past? What would it mean to take these ideas that had been left, and instead keep everything?!

Those who choose to sit in the first few rows of the audience should be aware that there is a huge amount of dry ice/stage fog used at the start and end of the show. There is a white floor and two piles of assorted clean ‘junk’ on stage when the audience arrives and is being seated. Two of the cast are visible ,crouched and waiting. Eventually we see that the cast are in white pyjama–like outfits with smudged dirty ‘bruises’.

Benjamin Cisterne’s great lighting is snappy ,playful, powerful and futuristic. The electronic score by Julian Hamilton and Kim Moyes ( aka ‘The Presets ‘) hums, throbs, pulsates, clicks , roars and whirls. Speech, animal and nonsense sounds are also included at various points. The trio of performers are amazing, seemingly boneless and deal with the fiendishly difficult demands in their work with great skill.

Some of Hamilton’s choreography is repetitive, angular and robotic, other sections are almost acrobatic yoga. Sometimes the performers form eerie frozen sculptural tableaux, or enfold twisted around each other. At other times they have small weird mini-solos.

There are also some difficult, awkward, acrobatic lifts –the trio using each other’s bodies as chairs, ladders and bridges as part of the work. At one point they all appear wild and simian, in another the elegance of human knowledge is extolled.

There is one ironic section where the cast fold themselves almost inside out and twist themselves into knots, where questioning statements about humans are made and they always say yes in answer when sometimes it should be no. Special mention must be made of a blisteringly fast, seemingly impossible breathless number/rhythm counting sequence by Langlois and Macindoe that had the audience cheering at the end.

Benjamin Hancock, with a blonde patch of hair and a dark widow’s peak is at first almost invisible, buried under the front dark pile of rubbish. He has the opening monologue, chatting to the audience as he rolls out from the pile and is revealed.

Lauren Langlois Is a strong, tough performer who glows. Her range, from crying like a baby, to harassed mum, to hot, breathy ‘yes’, is extraordinary.

Alisdair Macindoe is also an extraordinary , terrific performer of great grace , power and versatility .

In  this striking work, absurd and sometimes vulgar spontaneity, is used to examine the fragility of human nature. The work is very cleverly constructed, but like life itself, much is left messy and incomplete. While the individual performances were amazing and the quite mixed audience , I was left feeling emotionally uninvolved and perhaps a little disappointed.

Running time – just over an hour (approx) no interval

Chunky Move’s KEEP EVERYTHING, part of the Performance Space :Score Festival of Sound and Movement at Carriageworks, is running between the the 13th and 16th August.