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Review: Irago 이라고 Said So at Kensington Town Hall - Melbourne Fringe Festival

Review by Susanne Dahn


“It means a lot to us that you came to see our show and we hope we didn’t weird you out” say the Jang Huddle at the end of their current Melbourne Fringe Festival performance.


No, Jang Huddle you guys aren’t weird, you’re delightful ! It’s the world that’s often weird and your performance last night was the perfect antidote.


I’m quoting them partly because that’s what the title of the piece means in Korean - direct quote - so while audiences always interpret performances - “they do want to talk about it” - performances also always leave us with both memory and imagination.


And memory and imagination is the great gift of this Jang Huddle performance piece made manifest through dance sequences that evolve individually and collectively from torn pieces into a cohesive whole.


Jang Huddle fuse contemporary dance, music, soundscape and interactive theatre into a sweet confection of energy, exploration, curiosity and delight.


So much sweeter last night for the difficult week the world is experiencing with conflict erupting globally and a referendum evoking division at home.


Auckland based Jang Huddle is led by Cindy Yunha Jang-Barlow and the small troupe selected for this Fringe Festival piece also comprised Jefferson Chen, Callum Lee and Xixi Xian.


Multiple fragments of the real world’s brokenness feature in Irago 이라고 Said So. The stagecraft includes both images of renders of fabric, the real torn up multiple faces we show the world, scraps of lyrics, incomplete thoughts, lava lamp lighting and a sonic landscape that initially scratches and bumps and hops up and down.


By adding the deft and fluid choreography of the four talented dancers and performers, the audience can both know and feel individual burn out, isolation, confusion and even trauma.


The collaborative work then progresses bit by bit into both gentle and dynamic rhythms and the healing value of connection and community are experienced as the earthly bliss of thousands of gardens as glimpsed by the dancers and, through them, imagined by us.


The work of this troupe is inspiring, loving and generous and it’s a gift to be in their company.

Image Supplied

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