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Review: Abyss at the Goodwood Institute

By Lisa Lanzi

We enter the main theatre and take our seats, the upstage performance area littered with three female bodies and downstage, a corner set as a lounge room with couch, table and easy chair. I will say up front that am not a fan of this space for contemporary dance as the audience is set too low for optimal viewing. However, I do understand that venues are not easy to secure at Fringe and Festival time and certainly don’t hold venue choice against artists. Sadly, as the venue is away from the CBD, many Fringe-goers ‘forget’ that there are other wonderful options than those within the City mile.

Maddy Macera and Daniel Maley are both graduates of the wonderful Adelaide College of the Arts dance programme. They are presenting this collaboration at The Fringe in 2019 with an ensemble of dancers and both are responsible for concept and choreography. Macera also performs with the ensemble.

This contemporary dance offering is exactly why we have a Fringe Festival. A chance for emerging artists to strut their stuff and immerse themselves in a world-class festival environment. I am a fierce advocate of younger artists taking risks and wish that more opportunities existed for them to do just that.

The concept for this production poses the question when did you last sin? It explores the premise of the seven deadly sins and is also inspired by Dante’s Inferno. There is also a look at the way ‘sin’ is relevant, or not, to our modern world. Such far-reaching themes might truly require a full-length work to adequately explore the choreographic and visual themes suggested but this offering is a scant 45 minutes. I believe there is some strong, thoughtful and powerful choreography presented by this collaboration but further development is needed. The work as it stands is a worthy exploration and deserves the opportunity to be re-worked and broadened with accompanying excellence in dramaturgy, technical and design assistance. I would also have liked more information about the sound and music used in the production as no programme was available.

The dancers for this season are Maddy Macera, Rebecca Egan, Connor Gibson and Amelia Walmsley. Each performer is fully committed to their role and exhibit excellent technique, focus and assurance. I stress again the importance for younger artists to have these experiences and chances to perform and create and have an audience to view. Macera and Gibson are particularly strong in their stage presence and technical ability. Macera is also understandably very polished in the more idiosyncratic elements of the choreography given that she is one of the creatives. Some of the more dancerly choreography is quite stunning for its flow and creativity however this contrasts with the more theatrical sections which I feel need more work to better convey the inner workings of the concepts.

This is a wonderful addition to the dance line-up at this year’s Fringe and deserves to be seen by a wider audience.

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All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.


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