Springback

Reviews

AU

performed by CUBe - Christian Ubl & Cie. Ornithorynque

AU is all about a sketched encounter, mainly trying to please. The meeting of different cultures, appropriating them and considering the potential of living together are approached with light humour but the topic deserves more precise examination. AU instead takes the direction of expressive presentation and simple narrative and is not able to develop the potential complexity of the theme– that’s why the idea of utopian intersection or community that AU supposedly pursues stays in the realm of the naive. At the junction of this encounter between Australian outback and Austrian (or First World) culture, primeval instincts with hints of exotic savagery and well mannered civilization, are a man and a woman: funny penguin look-a-like Christian UBL in formal tail-coat and a wildly punkish Kylie Walters with expressive animal gestures taking the place of lost words. Every bet is placed on the jocular image of these two characters. Their playful swirl has its appeal but exhaust itself in trying, just a little too much, to be funny.  Dance narrative and music underscore the message and guide the spectator’s interpretation so precisely that not much is left to the imagination. When the duet becomes a trio (with musician Seb Martel), they perform a kind of ritualistic mating dance and form their utopian community. But it has no power to upgrade the one-dimensional narrative idea, already introduced at the beginning. Ultimately the performance soon gets out of breath.


POP. A toyshop bounces into view, a cartoon POW of the Australian outback. Stark yellow lighting and a harshly framed white floor throw forward flags, guitars, a Woman poised to pounce.  She talks to us, shows us the outback’s creatures, hands flapping overhead, hips thrust out and loping.  Other toys are thrown in - a Musician, a Man in a dress jacket.  These are used objects; they have histories, nationalities, rules.  They bounce off each other, wary, playful.  The piece rushes between karaoke bars and waltz parodies, snapshots of a world whose rules we’re not sure of. How is the instrument playing without its musician? The work confidently switches track with a rhythmical elasticity, but when the piece abruptly stops, we are unsure what it has left us beyond the personality of the performers.


I am so sorry, Austria, so sorry…

I  am so sorry, Austria, that we mean Czechs tore apart the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. If we hadn‘t we would not only have scraps of Walzes and a worn-out tail-coat left. And an uncle from Australia into the bargain, sitting in the corner of the stage resembling a colourful spelling-book. Two childish grown-ups are kidding around here pretending to study and solve the problem of  „identity“. Well, they only displayed it in a tourists-friendly way. But with a magnificent professional sense for the rhythm of a scenic structure. Which is kind of wasted here on a scarce message. They just ring the bell of the problem and immediatly take to their heels. But that is probably what they meant. And I absolutely agree with the creators: It´s „Au!“ for Austria. So sorry, Austria. Yesterday, we  Czechs villains got what we deserved.


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Spring Forward
22- 24 April 2016

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