Review: Here We Are Amongst You – Arts House Melbourne (VIC)

Devised and Performed by the Rawcus Ensemble, Directed Kate Sulan

Reviewed by Amelia Burke

What does the world need right now? This question guided the newest work from the acclaimed Rawcus ensemble. This is a momentous production for the company because it is the last to be directed by founding Artistic Director Kate Sulan after 22 years. Further, the show was created over the past three years, so it has well and truly stayed the course of countless lockdowns and whatever version of COVID-normal we find ourselves in now. This was why I found the work so deeply poignant and affecting. As I watched the 14 ensemble members dance, run and find moments of stillness within in the space, I could not help thinking how we have ridden this wave together.

The show begins with a warm greeting and a statement, “you don’t have to do anything”. I am sure there was a collective sigh of relief from the audience, all of whom were seated in the round. Jethro Woodard’s sound design then kicks in and over the course of the production, deftly conjures a variety of landscapes and settings. This rich design is seamlessly integrated with the choreography which had a throughline of accumulation and dissipation. This motif was a great reflection of our experience of the past few years and was echoed in Richard Vabre’s dynamic lighting design.

It was a joy and highlight to watch how generous and supportive the ensemble members were with their performances. Emily Barrie’s production and costume design beautifully highlighted this and brought great colour, individuality, and celebration to the work.  In a most striking moment, one performer buries themselves in a pile of strewn clothing that covers the stage. The lights fade and it feels like this image of isolation is all that we will be left with. However, in a flash everything changes, and this performer is joined by others who are dancing with complete abandonment. This moment reminded me that life is transient and dancing in the company of other people is a damn good time. When the lights came up at the end of the show, I felt that Rawcus had certainly given me what I needed on that wintery Melbourne night – a reminder of the power and preciousness of coming together. Kate Sulan certainly leaves a great legacy at Rawcus and I look forward to seeing what this new chapter at the company brings.

Reviewer Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Images: Aaron Walker

World Premiere
Here We Are Amongst You by Rawcus
29 June – 10 July 2022
7.30pm Wed – Sat, 5pm Sun and 2pm Sat 9 Jul
No performances Sun 3, Mon 4 & Tue 5 Jul

Duration 60 minutes
Arts House – North Melbourne Town Hall
521 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne

Pay if you can $35
Standard $20
BLAKTIX $10
A small transaction fee will be charged per order.
artshouse.com.au or (03) 9322 3720

Warnings – Possible haze, intermittent loud sounds, a moment of flashing lights.
All performances will be Auslan interpreted.
There will be a tactile tour and audio described performance 7.30pm on Saturday, 9 July 2022.


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