Review: Chi Udaka (TaikOz / Lingalayam)

chiudakaVenue: Seymour Centre (Chippendale NSW), Jan 16 – 18, 2013
Directors: Anandavalli & Ian Cleworth
Choreographer: Anandavalli
Music: Ian Cleworth, Riley Lee, Aruna Parthiban, John Napier

Theatre review
Chi Udaka sees a collaboration between two Australian companies from disparate backgrounds. TaikOz’s performance is based on Japanese percussion and wind instruments, and Lingalayam explores traditional Indian dance and music. Both companies work with specific disciplines and cultural influences, but come together to seek out a mode of expression that combines their respective talents. Whether discovering similarities or using disparities, Chi Udaka features a showcase with flashes of symbiosis, discordance and parallels.

Directors Anandavalli and Ian Clenworth do not seem to work with an ideal outcome in mind, but focus instead on a sense of exploration and surprise. What results is a production that is unpredictable and intriguing. One unifying component is a mesmerising quality that both cultures possess within their own forms, and their show together is definitely an enthralling experience. There is a spiritual element that is undeniable in the work, and in spite of the diversity in modern religious lives, it appeals to the sacred in each person, and aims for an uplifted audience.

An unfortunate flaw in the production is lighting design. Largely due to the restrictions of the York Theatre, which does not have conventional wings to allow for floods of light to illuminate the performers bodies effectively, the production has a muted look that prevents a greater, more direct connection with the audience. Relying on lamps from fly bars and footlights work well in the more subdued sections, but they detract from the efforts on stage in the more rousing moments of the piece.

Chi Udaka is a modern Australian marriage, imagined and realised by adventurous and brave people in the arts. It is a new dawn in our continuing re-definition of the Australian identity in our artistic and social landscapes, and while things may not always be smooth and easy going, this is a show that demonstrates a desire for purity and a respect for pluralism. It is a joyful moment when we are able to cherish all our different histories, and converge with trust and peace to create a new voice, one that embraces all that is good about the land on which we live and breathe.

www.taikoz.com
www.lingalayam.com

5 Questions with Tom Royce-Hampton

tomroycehamptonWhat is your favourite swear word?
Bollocks – feels good to whisper or yell, it’s an explosion of emotion and can carry as much venom or comedy as the situation requires.

What are you wearing?
My trusty (and hole ridden) white t-shirt, shorts and bare feet.

What is love?
Indescribable.

What was the last show you saw, and how many stars do you give it?
The Andrea Kellar Trio at Bennetts Lane with Tamara Murphy and legendary drummer Allan Browne, out of 5 stars I give it 6!

Is your new show going to be any good?
This is going to be an incredible collaboration uniting the undeniable force of nature that is taiko drumming with the intricate beauty and strength of Indian classical dance. Nearly two and a half years from conception this production has grown into a truly unique feast for the senses.

Tom Royce-Hampton is performing in Chi Udaka, part of Sydney Festival 2014.
Show dates: 16 – 18 Jan, 2014
Show venue: Seymour Centre