The Top 5 Peformances at the 2016 Adelaide Festival

This fusion of music and dance has taken David Sefton, the festival’s artistic director his entire tenure to realise, and audiences are in for a treat.

1. Monumental

The Canadian dance troupe, The Holy Body Tattoo returns after 10 years (their first performance was at this year’s PuSH Festival in Vancouver) alongside Godspeed You! Black Emperor in an exploration of modern ‘Urbiculture’ and the impending risk of death from overwork.

The result is a fill sensory experience, described by Sefton as a performance that ‘changes the rules on dance and its interaction with music.”

Take some time out from work to check this one out.

2. The James Plays Trilogy

Each of the new 2½-hour history plays in the James Plays Trilogy can be seen alone or combined for 11 hours of gripping regal narrative interspersed with meal breaks.

Signing up for all the plays, says David Sefton, Adelaide Festival’s artistic director, “is the way to do it”.

Rona Munro’s new trilogy tells the story of three generations of Stewart kings who ruled Scotland in the tumultuous 15thcentury.

The production, a joint effort from the National Theatre of Scotland and the National Theatre of Great Britain, is exclusive to Adelaide when it has its Australian premiere from February 27.

“It’s that fantastic thing of big meaty theatre that you sink your teeth into – you sink into your chair and you know you’re there for the next eight hours,” Sefton says.

3. Go Down, Moses

Go Down, Moses is the latest work from Italian provocateur Romeo Castellucci (his company, Societas Raffaello Sanzio, is considered one of the world’s most avant-garde and ambitious theatre troupes).

The piece, a meditation on the human psyche, explores existential uncertainties from the Old Testament Book of Exodus.

“They’re my favourite theatre company on the planet,” says David Sefton, Adelaide Festival’s artistic director.

“This one’s not for the faint-hearted – it’s a strong work that deals with big and contentious issues. It’s definitely not a family show, let’s put it that way. Do not bring the kids.”

4. Golem

Something that is suitable for kids – at least those aged 12 and older – is Golem.

“It’s about the origins of the Frankenstein myth,” says Adelaide Festival’s artistic director David Sefton.

“The actors interact with projections in a really smart, very funny way. The company, 1927, has a very distinctive look of its own.” The production synthesises animation, claymation, live music and performance.

There have been strong early ticket sales to see the Adelaide Oval stadium spectacular created by French masters of fire and light, Groupe F, on February 27.

“They specialise in the extremely spectacular,” says Sefton.

“This isn’t just a fireworks display – it’s a proper show using actors, large-scale projection and massive tell-your-local-airport pyrotechnics.”

The credits certainly hint at a roster of unusual talents behind the show: the list of company roles includes a master of fluids, a contraption tamer, illusion contriver, light fisher, conjurer and off-ground dancer.

5. Nelken

Dance enthusiasts can see the ground-breaking German company Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch in Australia for the first time in 16 years.

The company’s founder, choreographer Pina Bausch, died in 2009 but her revered company keeps her works alive.

Its performance of Nelken from March 9-12 is another Australian premiere.

“There’s not another company that’s such a big deal in the dance world,” says Adelaide Festival’s artistic director David Sefton.

“This piece Nelken, which is German for carnations, has never been seen in Australia and is generally acknowledged to be one of her greatest works.

“It’s only here so this is your only chance to see it in Australia probably ever. It’s a fantastic piece – it goes beyond dance.

“What she perfected was a theatrical approach to dance. It’s got loads of text in it, bits of it are extremely funny and it’s on a large scale. It’s a spectacular piece of choreography and performance – it’s one of those unforgettable experiences.”


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