Underworld is an energetic and crunchy dance performance devised by contemporary dance choreographers Sarah Aiken and Rebecca Jensen and presented by Darebin Arts Speakeasy. Streams of plastics across the performance space at the Northcote Town Hall as cocooned performers worm their way out of their loose plastic coils and leap into a fluid yet disjointed dance performance.
Fast-paced action and boundless energy transports us into a world of the unknown. Underworld is loosely based on the Australian film The Long Weekend (Colin Eggleston, 1978), it is a haunting psychological thriller that uses the native landscape to illustrate the finer points about fear and the unknown.
Underworld is the prequel to a previous collaboration by the duo. Aiken’s work explores the role of the audience and the subject – object dichotomy and uses recycled materials to create theatrical illusions and manipulate perspectives in dance. Jensen’s conceptual concerns in performance steer towards explorations of speed of information and how to utilize, replicate and re-mix it in dance performance. She is also like Aiken fascinated with the theatrical spectacle in dance and pushes boundaries with the physicality of dance and performance.
The four performers which also include Aiken and Jensen along with Claire Leskie and Louella Hogan, were physically resilient and powerful and all united in synchronic non-synchronic physicality and movement. They are entertaining and challenging as they deconstruct dance in a brooding menacing fashion with their decontextualized recycled materials to recreate a magical unknown yet haunting show.
The sound and music devised by Andrew Wilson worked perfectly with the performers in an edgy techno beat relying on drum machine rhythms and new age synth sounds and instruments.
If you enjoy dance performance and want to be challenged by the hauntingly brilliant dynamic team of Underworld then l highly recommend the experience. It will not disappoint.
Is a freelance writer and director. And always loves a good theatrical challenge!