Adelaide Festival

Festival Review: Grand Finale

Grand Finale, what an apt title for such an eclectic and exciting piece of work

Grand Finale is a true grand finale to the 2019 Adelaide Festival

Reviewed at the Adelaide Festival Theatre on 15 March 2019

Presented by Hofesh Shechter Company

Grand Finale, what an apt title for such an eclectic and exciting piece of work, is directed and choreographed by Hofesh Shechter .  Hofesh Shechter is a bit of a genius, correction, Hofesh Shechter is a true genius! So are his dancers: Robinson Cassarino, Chien-Ming Chang, Frédéric Despierre (rehearsal assistant 1), Rachel Fallon, Mickaël Frappat, Yeji Kim (rehearsal assistant 2), Kim Kohlmann, Erion Kruja, Attila Ronai and Hannah Shepherd create a world of order out of chaos. This work is so complex I wondered at times whether Shechter was exploring chaos theory or string theory as an additional brain tease for his audience.

His work is innovative (what a useless word that is in the context of what I witnessed tonight) his work is extraordinary. How many styles could I identify in the work? So many I’m dizzy at the thought – the result, Hofesh Shechter’s style prevails throughout this work.

I watched 10 dancers run the gamut of dance/movement styles: classical technique married with elements of tribalism connected to the grass roots of Israeli folk dance coupled to Krav Maga defence movement paired with modern dance and the basis of all great dance, emotional truth. I was hypnotised, transfixed, excited, lifted out of my seat and out of my world as this extraordinary company invited me to share their remarkable journey. I felt they were dancing just for me.

Dance uniquely invites you to participate in the world it creates by allowing you to enter into that world as an audience member physically. Even if you are sitting in the auditorium, really connected dance is a shared experience. The work created by this company invites you into its world and takes you on a journey through love, hope, fear, passion, death, provocation and adventure. It hypnotises you into a place where you find you are mimicking the movement you witness without moving a muscle. This work confronts, hurts, moves, defines and heals you. It is the gift of a man who can share the vision of his feelings with you through a group of gifted creators who have chosen to release their passion for him to develop and manipulate into a journey through space and time.

It is shocking, perverse, mind-expanding and truly a visceral experience if you allow yourself to enter into the world that Hofesch and his dancers create. For me, at times, it was like watching Les Sylphides meet The Walking Dead! I was amazed by the swirling, exhilarating, confronting work I was swept up in – I found I had no choice but to immerse myself in the world created for me to bear witness to. That is the result of a group of kinetically connected dancers working past the footlights.

And the music, how can one forget the music. James Adams, Christopher Allan, Rebekah Allan, Sabio Janiak and Richard Phillips are extraordinary, and their live music combined with the original score by Hofesch, and the percussion soundtrack created by Hofesh Shechter with Yaron Engler, brilliant. Some very versatile and amusing use of a pre-recorded track of The Merry Widow Waltz recorded by the London Philharmonic Orchestra.  The mix and use of the pre-recorded and live music completed the chaotic nature of this piece and the resulting chaos in the movement and the music was an experience that resulted in some wonderful and challenging moments of dance/drama.

I loved being allowed to be a part of this show as the dancers shared their experiences with us. An extraordinary night in the theatre. There are a truly wonderful selection of world class performances in this year’s Adelaide Festival and this is one of them.

Reviewed by Adrian Barnes

Venue:  Adelaide Festival Centre – Festival Theatre 
Fri 15th March 8.00pm, Sat 16th March 7.00pm, Sun 17th March 2.00pm
Duration: 1 hr 40 min, including interval
Tickets:  Premium $109, RAA $99, Friends $93 A Reserve  $99, RAA $89, Friends $84, Conc $79, U30 $45 B Reserve $79, RAA $71, Friends $67, Conc $64, U30 $35 Transaction fees apply


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