Australian Dance Reviews

Happy as Larry – Shaun Parker and Company

Dance Massive
Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall
March 2011

By Rain Francis

I LOVED this show.

I appreciated the ingenious simplicity of Adam Gardnir and Mitch Alcorn’s set. It was a moveable, two-sided wall of blackboard with ever evolving chalk drawings and a happy arc of coloured balloons.

I laughed out loud and at one point had to will myself not to indulge in an all-out laughing fit. At another point I was moved to almost tears, and at yet another moment I literally gasped at the beauty and the poignancy of a sequence. In short, I was moved. Mission of art – accomplished.

I relished the uniqueness and outstanding performances of the cast, each subtly representing one of the nine Enneagram personality types.

I enjoyed the way the music, bouncing between poppy electronica and achingly beautiful strings, worked in harmony with the choreography and Luiz Pampolha’s lighting.

Shaun Parker effortlessly fused contemporary, hip hop and ballet in the one work. In fact one scene contained the signature move of every dance style and craze ever known to man! This eclectic language, along with the personalities of the performers, eloquently expressed the elusiveness and the fragility of happiness, its reliance on so many factors, our projections and expectations of it, and our disappointments in it. Parker created a sense of community by expressing something so human, and so common to us all. I found it comforting to know that what I think of as my neuroses are in fact just part of the threads which link us all as people. The illustration of this idea did indeed fill me with happiness.

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