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Helen Razer reviews DasSHOKU SHAKE! for The Age (**** 1/2 stars)


See the review in its original context here.

To call Umiumare’s newest dance piece elaborate is a little like calling the films of Matthew Barney long. Which is to say, this is a visually and conceptually rich work that is much more rewarding than the Cremaster Cycle. Despite the fact it features almost as many references to sexual organs.

The wayward traditions of butoh are observed by a talented Japanese and Australian cast in a work that tracks the cultural reverberations of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Umiumare is short on sentiment and long on bawdy critique of a nation she sees in geological and emotional crisis.

Detonating both the orientalist view of Japan and Japan’s view of itself, Umiumare gives our city an extraordinary, hilarious and actually beautiful gift. Expect outsize babies in Hello Kitty nappies, singing faeces and dancing fast food. Expect also to be a little confused as to why this work is not a central feature of the Melbourne Festival.


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