I Left My Shoes on Warm Concrete and Stood in the Rain


Presented by Adelaide Festival Centre and mobilestates
Reviewed Wednesday 24th August 2011

Venue: Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, King William Road, Adelaide
Season: 8:30pm Thurs 25th, 6pm Fri 26th, 8:30pm Sat 27th August 2011
Duration: 50min
Tickets: adult $30/conc $26/students $25/Green Room $19.95/groups 6+ $27
Bookings: BASS 131 241 or

Part of the inSPACE Mini Festival of New Performances.

In the dark we hear the sound of wind, then horses, then shouts and finally the clash of swords. This is the start of Gabrielle Nankivell's fascinating performance. As the lights go up, her initial movements reflect the martial arts, but with a delicacy that reminds one more of tai chi. What follows is a work that takes a look at facing fear, survival and the unfailing will to live. Nankivell has developed a great range of expression in her dancing and she brings it to focus on a series of ideas in a richly rewarding performance.

The work is fragmentary, with episodes of dance interspersed with period of total darkness during which various voices are heard delivering short monologues. These have a poetic feel, like blank verse, but there is a surreal element to them as well. Occasionally a screen is also used to project one of these verses. The lighting and set design, by Benjamin Cisterne, and the sound, by Luke Smiles/Motion Laboratories, are an integral part of the production and add much to the atmosphere of the piece.

A suitcase is slid out onto the floor and, when it is opened, is revealed to be a survival kit. A voice-over offers survival techniques, injecting a little humour, especially the advice offered to escape unharmed, or with reduced damage when faced by a bear. There is a lot of floor work in her performance and, at times such as this, her long red hair cascading over the ground evokes images of blood. Nankivell slips under a blanket, taking with her a torch which she uses to make patterns as she uses her body to create shapes.

There is a remarkable range of choreographic elements in her work from small, concise movements in one episode to almost wild abandon in another. Coupled with the recorded sounds, the music, the spoken word and the intricate lighting this is a captivating and thought provoking piece of dance theatre.

People will each take away something different and personal from this work, which is Nankivell's intent. Go along and see what you discover and what memories you recall as you watch this terrific work.

Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Arts Editor, Glam Adelaide.

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