The first act of Ever is a definite yea, with beautiful, striking choreography set to one of the most jaw-dropping pieces of classic musical from the mid-20th century. It’s so good to see dancers really sweat it out, and the perspiration here drips off their taut figures as they take to the performance with gusto. Act I evokes memories of being a young boy swept up and away into a game of cowboys and Indians.
Ever is dreamlike and takes you straight to the heart of an America time has forgotten. An impressive cast, Melbourne luminaries such as Gregory Lorenzutti, Ellen Davies and Benjamin Hurley are all in fine form. They enter the space with the whim of tumble weed tossed in the light western breeze across the prairie. As the music intensifies, so does their physicality. We witness something that many dance aficionados may draw parallels between but may not have seen in this town since Summer Bone, presented by Leah Landau as part of Melbourne Fringe in 2014, and that is the beauty of roller skates in the dance arena. It’s moments like this that really offer the work’s darker commentary and historical referencing a much needed antidote.
Everything that follows barely warrants a mention, however for the sake of artistic commentary, let’s unpack the excruciation and painful exercise that was Act II. It does begin – and only because of all that preceded – with promise. However, the clarity of the projected image introduced here begins to allude to the bigger issues that dog the second half. Although with continuity apparently sought with the continuation of an underscore that is contemporary yet classic, this second half is too jarring, too modern and too thoroughly boring to even be considered performance in all its post- post- post-modernist wank. Because of the time allowed for our focus to be drawn on the projected image, which does to a degree add further extension upon visual metaphor, any magic associated with the introduction of what could have been incredible disappears fifteen minutes in to this act as it becomes apparent to each audience member that the joke is well and truly on them.
This is far as we can go discussing this work without entering in venomously negative commentary. In saying this, any choreographer or maker that can execute a work like Ever with such graceful precision, making complete idiots of the audience and shining a light on the elitism of art and particularly dance, needs to be commended. Phillip Adams, thank you.