Dance Massive: Skeleton

In many ways, Skeleton is an extraordinary performance piece. The choreography is exacting in its exploration of themes and the high-energy performances are sublime.


Choreographer Larissa McGowan presents a challenging piece of work in Skeleton. Her long-running curiosity for the skeletal form is said to be the inspiration for this piece, and the show certainly delivers on this.

The first half of Skeleton is riveting. The roving black columns, which slice through the stage and transport its performers, provide the space with an almost magical ambience. It demonstrates so acutely how set design works beyond being a practical device. In this case it serves to echo the idea that skeletal form is miraculous when one considers its durability and longevity.

The choreography in Skeleton demonstrates extraordinary depth and consideration. Movement is both mechanical and limber to showcase the range of movement, and both the strength and sheer fragility of the skeletal form. The latter is highlighted best when props such as baseball bats and skateboards, even other humans, show their potential to shatter this form.

This is a meticulously choreographed show and the performers show dexterity and courage to take this choreography all the way. The performances (by Tobiah Booth-Remmers, Lisa Griffiths, Marcus Louend, Larissa McGowan and Lewis Rankin) are awe-inspiring and work seamlessly with Jethro Woodward’s jolting and captivating soundscapes.

The issue that I have with this show, though, is that the exploration of its theme plateaus about half way in. Sure there’s an absurdist element to this piece – and absurdism likes to labour a point – but I noticed my attention waning because the choreography became repetitive. It’s a shame, really, because there is so much to love about this piece. If I only saw the first half of this show and the last five minutes, where it moves to a resolution, I would have given this show a standing ovation.


Karla Dondio

Karla Dondio is a Melbourne based freelance writer who has been reviewing theatre, comedy, cabaret and other live assortments for five years now.

Karla Dondio

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