FRINGEWORLD FESTIVAL 2021
THE GIRLS SCHOOL
Sometimes, I say, Yes, without thinking about the consequences. So was the case when I was asked if I’d like to review The Underground, Elysian Creative’s first outing at Perth’s Fringeworld Festival. Yes, please, I replied. Then I went and checked out what the show was all about: Dance & Physical Theatre / Cabaret from a new company was the major headline. With my love of both dance (not!) and physical theatre (whatever that is), along with cabaret (which I assumed involved people singing old timey songs), I just knew I was in for a difficult time of it. What could I possibly say about this show that wouldn’t crush the souls of the well-intentioned people who put it together?
So, of course, I went in with an open mind (just to confirm, for the irony impaired, not). But, you know what, prejudiced and black though my heart may be, this show had me captivated from the very beginning. It was a riot of dance, song and just a little bit of comedy. Although why they needed Dave Callan to come on stage a couple of times like a slightly creepy uncle chaperoning the young crew who are the focus of the show still baffles me. Don’t get me wrong, Callan played his parts brilliantly, it was just that he took up time that could have been filled with more dancing, cabaret singing and all that other stuff that I don’t like, apparently.
The Underground is notionally set in a timeless Buenos Aries nightclub and the basic premise is that a crew of dancers and singers dance, sing their hearts out, change costumes a lot and are backed by a bunch of R&B music, which is augmented by a live drummer with the bass turned up way past 11. It is a cavalcade of movement like you may never have seen before. These people can dance! They can emote. They can sing. And, have I said this yet? they can dance!
The whole thing is sexy AF, but being put on by the youth of today, the performers made what could have been a sleaze fest in times past into a joyously mesmerising celebration of movement. It was brilliant in every respect. Also, there was just enough of a narrative going on around the performers to keep even the most leaden footed of audience members intrigued.
I was enthralled from start to finish, which, for me, came far too early in the evening. Please, one more dance. One more dance!
We don’t give stars or scores on Around The Sound, but The Underground is worth making an exception for. It gets five stars. Out of how many? I hear you ask. Out of five, dummy. Now go see it!