Odeon Theatre, Wed 9 Mar
A thrilling, masterful, and thoroughly impressive work of contemporary dance, LissaJane Dance’s Vincent illustrates the inner turmoil of Van Gogh’s struggles with mental illness through movement.
Adelaide’s Tobiah Booth-Remmers stars as the troubled artist, and is joined by Michael Smith as his brother, Theo, and Chloe Lanham as the embodiment of Van Gogh’s psyche. The story is built around letters between Van Gogh and his brother read in voiceover, but that is mostly secondary to the stunning dance that is central throughout the 60 minutes of the performance.
This is a formidable production, with a large modular stage set that is used to great effect, in addition to complex lighting and audio cues. However, all of that is secondary to the dancing, which is thankfully superb. Feats of strength, grace, and technical agility are constant, with the intensity and difficulty increasing toward the dance’s climax.
The cast’s trio engages in more lifts than I can count, with all dancers fully committed to their roles and movement. Booth-Remmers in particular trembles and shakes when Van Gogh is in the grip of his illness, and both he and Smith engage in dramatic altercations with Lanham’s character in their attempts to free Vincent from his tormentor.
Vincent is a labour of love, premiering at Adelaide Fringe following years of development work by its choreographer, Melissa Lanham, and benefits from impressive lighting, set, costumes and hair/make-up design, in addition to its original score by composer Sean Tinnion, all of which combine to give it production value that feels like a bit of a steal at $30.
I hope Adelaide embraces Vincent, and that its scheduling against Pina Bausch’s Nelken and WOMADelaide won’t discourage audiences from making the effort. This is an opportunity to support a strong new work from a remarkable team of artists.
Vincent continues at Odeon Theatre, at various times, until Mon 14 Mar.
Book at FringeTIX on 1300 621 255 and adelaidefringe.com.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.