Lobsters. Borderline Arts Ensemble

21 October–4 November 2017, Circa Theatre, Wellington

Reviewed by Jennifer Shennan

Edward James, wealthy English arts patron, eccentric and capricious, good on him, commissioned Salvador Dali to create work—the famous Lobster telephone (also the Mae West lips sofa…) were among the results. Of four telephones produced, one is in the collection of National Gallery of Australia—so it follows, probably, that Australian readers will be interested to know that a little show, Lobsters, all about Dali, et al surrealists, has just opened a fortnight season in Circa Theatre, Wellington. The Lobster is onstage centre for most of the riotously wonderful evening.

It’s a little stunner—a cast of five, including musicians on stage. The show will travel well, and should definitely be seen on both sides of the Tasman, and beyond.

It’s a work a few years in the making but shows no sign of fatigue. There are ideas and images floating and sloping through the 75 minute show that intrigue, surprise, amuse, delight, entertain, titillate, wow and console by turns… and generally make you want to go back for a second viewing. This is a brilliant exploration of the surreal, and should resonate widely with art appreciators as well as dance followers.

Lucy Marinkovich is the choreographic driver. She also dances, quite stunningly (though no surprise in that as she has always been a svelte and striking performer. Her rendition of Doris Humphrey’s Two Ecstatic Themes here a few years back will be long remembered). But this work is a major choreographic development for her, and the harnessing into the cast of Carmel McGlone, as The Lobster, is a masterstroke. McGlone has long been a theatrical sensation as actor, singer and comedian on the Wellington stage, and she here manages the challenges of dancing as well with admirable aplomb.

Lucy Marinkovich, Emmanuel Reynaud and Matthew Moore in 'Lobsters'. Photo: Philip Merry
Lucy Marinkovich, Emmanuel Reynaud and Matthew Moore in Lobsters. Photo: © Philip Merry

Lucien Johnson as on-stage musician is also the composer of the varied, sophisticated, hilariously conceived accompaniment. He is suave and urbane, and his saxophone playing leaves you breathless though seems not to have that effect on him.

Two highly competent male dancers, Emmanuel Reynaud and Matthew Moore, complete the cast and are fully focused to the atmosphere and structure of the work.

Ask your local festival talent scout to check out Lobsters. The extremely efficient production team, including dramaturg Miranda Manasiadis, will be back in touch by lunchtime.

Jennifer Shennan, 26 October 2017

Lucy Marinkovich in a study for LobstersPhoto: © Philip Merry

One thought on “Lobsters. Borderline Arts Ensemble

  1. Well, I went back to Lobsters for a second strike and found it even better (though that’s tricky since I thought extremely highly of it first time round). Different companion, different seat, glass of bubbly, change in the weather, change of government, change in the light — no such thing as the “same” performance twice.

    It’s rare for a dance season to last a full fortnight, and these performers are profiting from the chance to repeat, expand and deepen their roles. Matthew Moore was galvanised last night. Trained at Unitec, but launched by his own elevation, and delivering at every turn a true sense of line that becomes a compass for our viewing of his moving.

    Lucien Johnson played the saxophone like it was a didgeridoo. Perhaps it is.

    You come away with head ringing from Carmel McGlone’s heartwrenching songs “Ne me quitte pas” and blazing “Nothing is Sin”. I’d better go back for a third visit to see what else is growing out of this remarkable show.

    Cheers. Yes.

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