Amy Macpherson, Henna Kaikula and Nicci Wiks in FORKLIFT. Pic Pat Scala

An absorbing blend of dance, physical theatre and the warehouse/industrial environment Forklift is brought to us by KAGE from Melbourne as part of the 2014 Sydney Festival.

Directed by Kate Denborough, there are three female performers in the show (four if you count the forklift itself. And the forklift does get bows at the curtain calls!). The cast are Amy Macpherson, Nicci Wilks and Henna Kaikula all of whom have had circus and dance training and special contortionist training as well.

The whole huge area of Bay 17 of Carriageworks is used, opened right up to the back walls. The show begins with one of the cast starting a late night shift in a warehouse. We see her arriving for work, playing cards with a friend, making coffee, grabbing a snack from the machine … Meanwhile, eerie unusual events begin to happen.The other two performers emerge in skin coloured bra and pants.

 At first they seem like dazed shop mannequins, or at least something boxed and strange, as they hang, crawl ,creep and manoeuver on and around the forklift . At one point they are shifted like container cartons to fill an empty space. They dance on the shifting, tilting palette, the top of the forklift and other unusual spaces. Are they friend or foe? Are they real or figments of the jittery driver’s imagination?

Jethro Woodward’s electronic soundscape, which incorporates the noises of the forklift, pulsates, beeps and hums.

For the last part of the show UV lighting is used and the cast change into luminous short Mondrian-like dresses and continue to play on and around the forklift.

The 2.5 tonne forklift has a mind of its own.(Two of the cast by the way have forklift licences ).Sometimes it is well behaved and sedate , at other times it is madly speeding around and around , reversing or wheeling in circles , with and or without the performers hanging on/off it .

The choreography is fresh and contemporary .We are treated to a wonderful display of a cross between dance, acrobatics, gymnastics and mime, seamlessly blended together. Some of the work is very dangerous to perform.

This could possibly be seen as an Australian feminist take on Priasso’s ‘ Transport Excepetionnels‘ , using a forklift not an earth mover .It  is a  thought provoking, inspiring, questioning work showcasing KAGE’s fascinating combined talents.

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

FORKLIFT by KAGE played at Carriageworks as part of the Sydney Festival between the 16th and 19th January, 2014.

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