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Reviews/Dance/Fringe World Festival

A trip into retro-wonderland

2 February 2018

Fringe World review: The Honeymoon Suite by Bernadette Lewis ·
Paper Mountain gallery, 1 February ·
Review by Nina Levy ·

Entering the Paper Mountain gallery space to see Bernadette Lewis’s The Honeymoon Suite, I come upon two be-sequinned dancers lying entwined, pretzel-like, around one another. Part-performance, part installation, two gallery walls feature luminous, blue-hued stills of the dancers, by photographer Emma Fishwick. The other two display an assortment of objects united by pinkness; flowers, hand-weights, slippers, ice cream cones, puzzle pieces.

The gallery, which is unusually long and narrow for a dance performance space, is mostly taken up by a rubber dance floor; the audience hovers at its edge, bathed in the subtle rosy glow that illuminates the show as a whole. There’s a gently 80s vibe permeating the room; the sequins, the neon sign, the background pop music, the musk sticks on offer.

The segue between before-the-show and the-show-has-definitely-started is subtle, appropriately, perhaps, for a work that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Musically the vibe hovers somewhere between lounge and the aforementioned 80s pop, with a handful of electronica thrown in for good measure.

Against this soundscape the movement teeters between sensual and silly, occasionally tipping into sinister. Now the dancers (Laura Boynes and Tanya Brown) recline like glamorous 50s film stars, their long hair flung back, their fingers holding invisible cigarettes aloft. Now they traverse the width of the performance space on their bottoms, hips shifting in a comical race to the end. Now they become entangled as they wrestle, more foes than friends. Boynes and Brown are gorgeous to watch as they morph, with careless ease, through the many moods of this work.

A fabulously kooky scene sees the dancers become a moving, ice-cream eating sculpture. Another involves climbing the walls, hanging from the window frames and Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart”.

Without giving too much away, the bouncing grand finale is highly satisfying, although as one of the audience members hauled (reluctantly) on stage, the closing moments felt anti-climactic. Aside from my aversion to audience participation, I would have liked to have seen this entertaining concept further developed.

Nonetheless, The Honeymoon Suite is trip into a retro-wonderland. It’s well worth 30 minutes of your time.

‘The Honeymoon Suite’ plays Paper Mountain gallery until February 5 and the installation may be viewed during gallery opening hours (9.30am-5pm).

Pictured top: One of the images on display as part of the installation/performance. Pictured: Laura Boynes. Photo: Emma Fishwick.

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Author —
Nina Levy

Nina Levy has worked as an arts writer and critic since 2007. She co-founded Seesaw and has been co-editing the platform since it went live in August 2017. As a freelancer she has written extensively for The West Australian and Dance Australia magazine, co-editing the latter from 2016 to 2019. Nina loves the swings because they take her closer to the sky.

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