Spellbinding is the word that first comes to mind upon reflection of this work. As stoic as it is fragile, it exists between two places. Though neither are fully illustrated, one belongs to the individual, the other to the collective. From moments of quiet pause and solitude, a single figure breaks from this lull, spilling and crashing into a non-definitive silence.
This is singularly the best piece of physical theatre Melbourne audiences have been treated to in some time, a rich and sumptuous vision that has been realised in full. Rawcus are an ensemble of performers with and without disability. The power in which they work with such a diverse group of individuals is key to much of their success, because here we are allowed to see each of these bodies as equal: and rightly so. In a society where there is so much emphasis placed on the “us” and “them”, here in this company (and in particular in this work), we are offered a true example of the arts’ ability to bridge such divides. In response to events which are beyond the control of the individual, regardless of what form our bodies take, we still react with all of our dexterity to the weight of such events, and we feel with the full gamut of emotions.
Aside from the physical and choreographic nature of this work, the performance itself is possibly one of the best uses of lighting we have seen all year. In the opening moments, a rapid succession of scenes interspersed with flashes of light and deep rumbling bass plays out. Technically, these motifs are then repeated later in the work, bringing the story full circle. Having such high production values does not to detract from everything else which transpires in between, as it is a rich and sumptuous affair.
With the world continuing to slip further out of the grasp of normality and deeper and deeper still into murky depths, performances such as Song For A Weary Throat are important, and needed. It reflects without compromise, takes us prisoner, and leaves us a feeling uneasy and too close to home.