11352-Visual-Arts-EOI-Seesaw-Ad-970x90-2.gif
Reviews/Dance/Fringe World Festival

Head-banging synchrony

17 January 2021

Nina Levy is blown away by the powerhouse rock and energy of contemporary dance show Cry Baby.

Cry Baby, Parkin Projects ·
State Theatre Centre of WA, 16 January, 2021 ·

Like any rock ’n’ roll show worth its salt, Cry Baby opens with a blast of drum-driven, guitar-infused, scream-laden sound.

It’s contemporary dance, but not as we know it, as three women in boiler-suits – Celina Hage, Rhiana Katz and Georgia van Gils – strut their stuff, accompanied by Cissi Tsang on electric guitar and Nathan Menage on drums. Created and directed by emerging local independent choreographer Kimberley Parkin, Cry Baby is both a celebration and an affectionate parody of rock stars like Mick Jagger, Janis Joplin, Iggy Pop and Tina Turner.

If you’ve seen Hage, Katz and Gils perform (you may recall that all three appeared in another rock-inspired program, Hofesh in the Yard), you’ll know that each is a powerhouse dancer who crackles with energy on stage. Here the looseness of the mosh-pit meets the articulation of their training, with electric results. Bodies writhe, hair flies, hips vibrate, creating a wild and electric synchrony.

Tsang and Menage respond in kind, revelling in the physicality of the dancers and creating an impressively loud and full sound as they work their way through a medley of rock favourites.

Rhiana Katz delivers a sultry version of the Rolling Stones standard, ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’. Photo: Edwin Sitt

There’s a feminist undercurrent, too, in the masculinity of the dancers’ swagger, androgynous in their boiler suits, as well as in the gender imbalance on stage.

An unexpected highlight is Katz’s sultry rendition of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”. Despite being untrained, she sings with gritty confidence, bravely eyeballing a few individual audience members as she delivers her lines.

Though it’s understandable and, indeed, desirable that there should be some variation in energy level and tone, the change of mood that concludes the work feels anti-climactic. Hage’s staggering solo to the song of the title, which seems to be alluding to the dark side of the genre, is effective but leaves the audience somewhat subdued. The fact that the live band has left the stage exacerbates the feeling that the show that started with a bang has ended with a whimper.

Nonetheless, Cry Baby is a 35-minute head-banging, pelvis-thrusting, tongue-baring treat. Get a ticket for the last show, if you can.

Cry Baby is on in the Courtyard at the State Theatre Centre of WA until 17 January, 2021.

Pictured top: Powerhouse dancers Georgia van Gils, Celina Hage and Rhiana Katz and strut their stuff in ‘Cry Baby’. Photo: Edwin Sitt

Like what you're reading? Support Seesaw.

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.

Past Articles

  • Two decades of making a HOO HAA

    Perth’s own improv comedy battle, The Big HOO-HAA!, is celebrating its 20th birthday this month. Ahead of the party, Nina Levy spoke to founding member Libby Klysz, to learn about all things HOO-HAA.

  • Off the beaten track with Famous Sharron

    More dazzling than ever, Famous Sharron is taking her Perthonality outside the metro area, discovers Nina Levy.

Read Next

  • One of the works at Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery: a stylised screen print of a woman screaming. Women artists form a powerful chorus
    Reviews

    Women artists form a powerful chorus

    5 July 2022

    Vibrating with tension and energy, ‘Sustaining the Art of Practice’ is an exhibition that amplifies the voices of women, reports Jaimi Wright.

    Reading time • 5 minutesVisual Art
  • A person in a black shirt looks down at a cardboard dog he's holding to his chest. Cardboard puppy steals hearts
    Reviews

    Cardboard puppy steals hearts

    4 July 2022

    Spare Parts Puppet Theatre’s holiday production Hachiko: The Loyal Dog moves young writer Bethany Stopher with its bewitching cardboard creations.

    Reading time • 6 minutesTheatre
  • Outcome Unknown. Two people sit at tables in a darkened space. One is plucking at stringed instruments lying flat on the desk and the other in the foreground is adjusting electronic keyboards Electronica surges at Outcome Unknown
    Reviews

    Electronica surges at Outcome Unknown

    1 July 2022

    The Outcome Unknown Festival brings together some of Perth’s leading players in experimental music, and highlights the strength in the electronica field, writes Jonathan W. Marshall.

    Reading time • 7 minutesMusic

Leave a comment

Cleaver Street Studio

Cleaver Street Studio

Cleaver Street Studio