THE poetry of Walt Whitman inspired original songs in this fusion of music, poetry and dance.
The Sidney Crewick band collaborated with The Tuggeranong Arts Centre Fresh Funk dancers to create a youthful and energetic production.
Liam Budge led the band on vocals and guitar.
“I draw you close to me, you women, I cannot let you go, I would do you good, I am for you, and you are for me, not only for our own sake, but for others’ sakes, Envelop’d in you sleep greater heroes and bards, They refuse to awake at the touch of any man but me” -– the words of Whitman half spoken, half sung by Budge segued into an original song or piece of music composed and written by the band.
The transitions were impressive and some of the songs quite beautiful. “Among the Multitude” and “I am he that Aches with Love” were among the poems drawn on.
Budge’s sweet, warm and soothing voice suited this well, despite seeming to struggle with some higher register notes. The five-piece ensemble was joined by a string quartet. The electric guitar was too loud at times causing a slight sound distortion and occasional feedback.
Seven dancers exuberantly interpreted the song lyrics, depicting young love, relationships, jealousy, loss, and concluding with the notion that love is not gone, but momentarily absent.
Perhaps the target audience was too specific to pull off the emotional punch it may have hoped for and the dancers used a limited and repetitive dance vocabulary, despite proficient execution.
Matthew Gray danced with a good physicality and confidence. He appeared to have modelled his movement on drug-fuelled concert goers, alternating between dramatic movement and sitting on the stage looking one step away from passing out, but strangely this seemed to work, juxtaposed against the duets and solos – contributing to the overall feel of the production which, with the female dancers in babydoll dresses and all the performers barefoot, had a hippy feel.
The stage and lighting was well set up – included a raised platform running behind the band, lighting the dancers from waist up, creating a ghostly feel and making the performance space appear incredibly deep.
This was an enjoyable production and the enthusiasm of the performers was clear to see.