Review: Three at the Playhouse, QPAC, Brisbane

Review by Josie Montano & Robert McLachlan


After a 13 months hiatus, Australasian Dance Collective (ADC) is back! Presented by the collective and the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, THREE is not only the premiere performance title but three incredible collectives were presented to us at QPAC’s Playhouse on its opening night. Choreographed by champions in their field, the triple billing comprised of dances titled:- Alterum by Melanie Lane, Still Life by Jack Lister and Cult by Hofesh Shechter.


Amy Hollingsworth, ADC’s Artistic Director introduced the triple bill with passion and excitement and possibly a tear in her eye as days away from their debut a year ago, Covid reared its ugly head and shut down the production.


ADC's "Three" consists of 3 visually challenging performances from three different choreographers with six accomplished dancers bringing these stories to life on stage – Chase Clegg-Robinson, Jack Lister, Jag Popham, Josephine Weise, Lonii Garnons-Williams and Tyrel Dulvarie.


Alterum and Still Life are both world premieres and Cult is an Australian premiere. In Alterum (Latin for ‘other’), Melanie Lane, uses past and present mythologies of ‘otherness’ to reflect upon the human body and its search for intimacy. Dancers in this piece rose to the task of the intricate moves and overall it is both haunting and otherworldly. There are constantly changing combinations with the participants initially solo, then partnered and re-partnered in various combinations. Eventually, three, four, five and six person groups are covered with almost constant reconfiguring and changes of direction. Lane worked with long-time musical collaborator and partner Clark (UK) who has composed an original score using both strings and electronics to create a haunting, sonic world for this sultry and cool production. The goal of "...expressing through dance, to dream of another body, to move as another body, until we ultimately return to our true selves.”, is realised thanks to the wonderful movements and connections between the dancers.


Jack Lister's Still Life attempts to translate the concepts of Still Life artworks into dance and Lister plays with time and symbolism in this fusion of visual art and dance. The backdrop for this piece is quite stark which emphasises the interesting and elegant lines of the choreography. Lister only joined the collective as a company dancer in 2020 so it's refreshing to see his creative talent flourish. An announcement was made that this was a collaborative effort with the other dancers of the company and this can be a great way to utilise the talents of the company. Still Life contrasts to permanence of visual artwork with the transience and impermanence of movement and dance.


Cult was created in 2004 as a response to the world around it. Hofesh also created the soundtrack for this explosive and captivating work. This piece is dark and forceful and gripping as it reflect an ironic view of the powers that steer our society. This was the first group work created by Hofesh Shechter and announced his arrival on the world stage. Shechter is one of the world’s most-exciting choreographers and has been credited with changing the face of dance. Inspired by Israeli folk dance, rock gigs, military exercise, nightclubs, installation art and film, his pumping, high energy works are accompanied by scores that he composes himself under the advisement of Matthew Davidson. Watching Cult is an invigorating experience and it really grabs you from the first moment and holds your attention throughout. Stark colours are used for costumes which only serves to make the piece even more visually gripping.


Many other creatives and crew are to be complimented, Glenn Hughes, Lighting Designer for both Alterum and Still Life; Costume Designer Alana Sargent for her designs also in both Alterum and Still Life; Lighting Designer Chahine Yavroyan and Phil Hulford for Staging, both worked on Cult.


Such a celebration of the arts, dance and movement – this is a performance not to miss. The audience buzz and hype in between each performance was electric! Unfortunately it’s such a short season that ends on 29th May at the Playhouse, QPAC – if you miss this amazing trinity of dance, it’s ok, just ensure you register for the THREE 2022 waitlist!


Image Supplied