Entertainment Hive 2017

The Oracle

Adelaide Festival Centre, Dunstan Playhouse

Review by Honey B

Meryl Tankard's sensational dance piece, The Oracle, is a haunting, intense and captivating work which is performed by the brilliant Paul White. As the solo star of the show, White is both vulnerable and strong, alone but yet not, hard but soft - put simply, you cannot take your eyes off of him. The piece which is a collaboration between Tankard, White and Regis Lansac who designed the set and video and opened the show with his opening video sequence to a soundscape of whistling and other mechanical sounds and a recording of Magnificat by the 18th Century Portuguese composer of the baroque period, João Rodrigues Esteves. Lansac sets the scene with these sepia toned images that are eerily divided, split, mirrored and multiplied to great effect. The piece certainly has some sort of religious undertones. When White finally appears on the stage to Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring the audience is primed and ready as the music and this intelligent dancer lures us into his world. The Oracle is a slow burn of a dance piece as it slowly unravels and the music builds to a crescendo you could absolutely hear a pin drop in the Dunstan Playhouse - and at times you could hear the ragged breathing of White which just added to the tension. White used his body to an amazing effect - his athleticism was easy to see but he also has a classical beauty and a feminine side as he used his brown cloak as a whirling skirt. The props were limited to the brown cloak, White's white underwear, a bonnet and a fringed skirt. The lighting was also minimalistic but used to fantastic effect and at times felt like White was locked in and couldn't escape. There is great suffering and sensitivity in this work and it is the yin and the yang that is a wonderful struggle to watch as White let's everything go in the final act. The audience was left stunned before wild applause erupted throughout the theatre. The Oracle is not to be missed.
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