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Review: The Dinner Party at QPAC

By Josie Montano & Robert McLachlan

The Dinner Party, formerly titled The Host initially premiered in Qld in 2015 and has now returned as part of a national tour. This creative work is the latest endeavour from the award-winning Expressions Dance Company established in 1984 and is one of Qld’s leading contemporary dance companies consisting of an intimate ensemble of six to eight dancers.

We experienced a one hour piece of gripping contemporary dance theatre at QPAC’s Cremorne Theatre, an appropriate venue to showcase the performance. The story centred around a dinner party hosted by a wealthy gentleman, for his guests who were a melting pot of intertwining personalities and relationships. The host, hostess, rival, lover, wannabe and insecure party girl - all with their own motives, desires and insecurities that helped fuel the emotion charged dancing. The show explores the relationships between these characters, touching on manipulation, the desire for status and wealth, and misuse of power. The performers are continually reinventing themselves, taking turns participating in different combinations such as pas de deux, solos, threes, fours and even the entire cast. Some of the movement was breathtaking and hypnotic. The choreography has allowed us an intimate, almost voyeuristic glimpse into their tumultuous relationships. A highlight was when the dinner table was turned on its side and used innovatively by the dancers. Although the set and props were simple, they were very appropriate and used to their fullest extent.

The collective of dancers - Jake, Bella, Jag, Bernie, Josie and Lizzie are to be congratulated on the hard work which has gone into such a polished performance. Choreography was by Natalie Weir, the outgoing Artistic Director, who managed to assemble the intricate steps into a visual feast, narrating the story with aplomb. This was a collaboration that involved not only dance but music, fashion and lighting. Gail Sorronda, a local fashion designer created costumes that allowed the dancers freedom of movement whilst complimenting the narrative. Musical Director, Tania Frazer and the Southern Cross Soloists created the original yet haunting score. Lighting design was by Ben Hughes, which provided the necessary atmosphere and mood.

At the after party, EDC’s newly appointed Artistic Director, Amy Hollingsworth spoke about their partnership with QPAC and exciting ways in which the company will go forward into the future. We had a brief chat with one of the talented ensemble dancers, the delightful Isabella (Bella) Hood, who as a Queenslander began her dance training in Toowoomba.

We highly recommend catching a performance at QPAC before the 18 May, 2019 when they then embark on their six week national tour … or you may be left wondering who really holds the power at that dinner party.

Photo Credit: David Kelly

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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