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BWW Reviews: FLESH AND BONE – An Unexpected, Delicious Exploration of Love, Gender and Connection

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See article in its original context here. Published on Broadway World by Jacqueline Bublitz.

On this unseasonably warm night, in this intimate cave of a performance space, the air will soon be ripe with the pungent smell of tomatoes and longing. It turns out the two go well together, unexpectedly, deliciously, when served up in FLESH AND BONE, the latest piece from KAGE Creative Directors and performers Kate Denborough and Gerard Van Dyck.

The dance-theatre of FLESH & BONE manages to stimulate a fair portion of the senses in fact, fusing as it does sight, sound and smell. And yes, you can almost reach out and touch the metaphor when the ridiculously capable sinew and muscle of Denborough and Van Dyck extends and twists through a series of movement and dance exploring – in their own words – the construction of attraction and our primal need to be connected.

FLESH AND BONES is ambitious no doubt, but it just so happens that dance is the perfect art form to explore grand themes in small spaces. There is art implicit within the human body after-all, and when expressed by masters of the form like Denborough and Van Dyck, the effect is that of great truths being whispered quietly.

For a portion of the performance the backdrop is a mirrored wall, creating an effect that manages to both reflect and distort the communion taking place on stage. As observers in this space, the audience can at times seem uncomfortable with this intimacy – on the night more than the occasional nervous laugh can be heard – but the simple set and air of magic (balloons, spinning balls, red confetti) also allows for a lightness amongst these most heavy of themes.

For this reviewer, FLESH AND BONE succeeds in its lofty aims, particularly in the way it gently pokes at restrictive notions of femininity and masculinity. Dance is a great equalizer – anyone watching the extraordinary strength of Denborough supporting and lifting Van Dyck as many times as he does her can attest to that. While there are undoubtedly more overt allusions to gender as construct throughout the performance, for me the physical equality between these long-term creative partners speaks loudest. Ultimately their bodies in synergy reflect the human experience.

Did I get it? Not always. But the best thing about being this far away from the years of study notes and follow up exams is the realisation that art is an offering, not a directive. When my date for the night recognised a particularly beautiful moment in the show as the breaking of hearts and I saw it instead as an explosion, a release – we were both right in our way.

Sidebar: FLESH AND BONE ultimately made me hungry for fresh pasta … and my ex. Until I remembered that we never did dance well together. I would recommend an indulgent post-theatre supper instead!

Image credit:

KAGE’s Flesh and Bone, Pictured: Kate Denborough and Gerard Van Dyck, Photo by: Lachlan Woods

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