Expressions Dance Company’s (EDC’s) limited return season of where the heart is, playing at the Playhouse, Queensland Performing Arts Centre is providing a small window of opportunity to see this award winning dance piece which blends dance, theatre, music, song, and story-telling beautifully.
The full-length piece (one hour with no interval) about a young man (played by David Williams) who returns to his childhood home and relives the memories and ghosts of yester-year, was originally created in 2009 as Natalie Weir’s first project as the Artistic Director for the company. where the heart is went on to win Helpmann Awards for ‘Best Ballet or Dance Work’ and ‘Best Choreography in a Dance or Physical Theatre Work’ and an Australian Dance Award for ‘Most Outstanding Performance by a Company’.
The unique thing about this piece is that the musicians, Marc Hannaford on piano and Christa Powell on violin, and singer Pearly Black, form part of the set and by extension are almost seen as part of the cast. John Rodgers haunting score was inspired by folk tunes, with lyrics inspired by Queensland Author David Malouf’s12 Edmondstone Street.
The smokey lighting gave the sombre atmosphere of lost memories lurking in the nooks and crannies of the old house, with the well place focus lights acting like the drapes being opened to the harsh outside sun, and bringing those memories out into the open. The hole in the creaky floor of the house where the ‘memories’ entered and left was a nice touch.
The cast members each embodied their characters of the young man’s relatives and past loves, with a highlight being the grand-mother played by Elise May, who wonderfully portrayed a spirited yet elderly woman frustrated by the frailty of her failing body.
The characters encapsulated the love, hurt, joy, and sorrow of the relationships including the breakdown between the mother and father played by Daryl Brandwood and Riannon McLean, the rivaling brothers Jack Ziesing and David Williams, and his past love played by Samantha Mitchell.
The contemporary (and local) story with beautiful choreography and physical story-telling, matched with everyday wear costumes and literal setting of the old Queenslander house made this piece particularly accessible to the audience.
Expressions Dance Company with where the heart is forges a new type of dance theatre, and in doing so creates a closer relationship between dance and the average theatre goer.