Australian Dance Reviews

Fear of loneliness and solitude: ‘Oh Boy!’ at March Dance

'Oh Boy!'.

Dance Cinema online screening.
1 March 2021.

As part of March Dance, we are privileged to see Oh Boy! by Hadi Moussally. It is an intimate, intense, rather dreamlike piece about loneliness and solitude. The concept was developed by Antonin Rioche in collaboration with Moussally and performed by Benjamin Behrends.

Moussally has been influenced by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, and there is also perhaps an atmosphere of Butoh works.

Oh Boy! is about the fear of loneliness and solitude, about how isolation is often necessary for artistic creation yet can also be frightening and damaging. A voiceover is included. At times, it has a floating, meditative feel. Almost all the work is of Behrends exquisitely, sculpturally photographed in the nude (but with his back turned to us). There is slow, sensuous capturing of his feet, for example. Behrends moves from lying down to slowly sitting up, and then we see him curled in upon himself. 

This then changes to very slow, controlled, yet fluid movements while Behrends dresses himself. He then makes use of the shadows on the wall, perhaps having a dialogue with them as he shadow boxes and creates various shapes (a dog, a butterfly and others).

Then the film cuts to Behrends outdoors in a field of purple flowers (lavender?). At times, there are jagged, twisted tortured movements which are contrasted with others, giving a sense of flying, of freedom and escape. 

The work ends with Behrends nude, slithering backward away from us and then lying sculpturally in the field – at one with nature? 

Oh Boy! is a haunting work.

By Lynne Lancaster of Dance Informa.

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