Australian Dance Reviews

Happy As Larry – Shaun Parker

Everest Theatre, Seymour Centre
The University of Sydney
January 2010

By Linda Badger

Shaun Parker’s work for Sydney Festival ‘Happy as Larry’ was entirely entertaining, thought provoking and engaging.  His in-depth look at the Enneagram model for nine different personality types was intriguing.  His play on different relationships between the personality types was incredibly interesting to watch. I had no idea what to expect next.  The piece was very detailed, with many layers and many different things to watch at once. You could probably see the performance ten times and get something new out of it each time.

The dancers were very interesting in themselves as they all had completely different strengths and training. This was very complimentary to the work, the choreography and the delivery of the story.  They were not all brilliant technicians, but all special in their own way.  It was evident that the dancers had collaborated to create the work as they seemed to have so much of themselves in it, yet it was still distinctly a Shaun Parker piece.  His choreography in snippets was very fascinating, however the use of a lot of common dance vocabulary, although it had a purpose, was probably not entirely necessary every time it was used.  Then again, one of the highlights was a section when the dancers went through a series of old 80’s dance floor moves. It was quite humorous and the audience couldn’t help but laugh out loud. 

Photos by Prudence Upton

Photos by Prudence Upton

Not only were there some great original choreographic segments, but the musical accompaniment was mesmerising. The use of the violin in the original score was haunting, and the choreography at some points was so in tune with the music that it kept you leaning in, on the edge of your seat. It was very exciting to experience these moments.

The use of a huge rectangular, thick, rotating ‘wall’ was an integral part to the work. At some points it helped to change between all the stages in the piece, and at others it was a prop.  The staging was simple but very effective.

Overall, it was an entertaining piece of dance theatre that was both deep and light at the same time. I look forward to seeing more of Shaun’s work in the future.

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