Malmö is unexpected in every way, which is why it’s a must see!
Malmö is unexpected. Upon entering the foyer and being asked to create a name tag for the show, one becomes aware that this will get personal. However, for those with stage fright, the audience participation is minimal and never becomes uncomfortable. In fact, to say Malmö is ‘unexpected’ doesn’t do it justice. The artists in this piece are brilliant dancers with performance credibility that would turn many contemporary dancers green. They are true actors, and their formation of rich, identifiable ‘that’s my friend, or me, or the man at the shops who gives the rump of an avocado a gentle squeeze with his firm hands’ characters, are at once your shoes for the next 80 minutes. With all the craft, skill and charisma these two possess, their production is entirely unexpected, which is the most exciting experience you can have in theatre.
The Story: A couple have renovated the venue (in this case an old workers hall) into their dream home. It is pretentious, familiar, over wrought with self-projecting ambition and, to top it off, it’s in a magazine. An actual magazine, which is the genius of the piece as it doesn’t need a set. The performers tell you which page to view various aspects of the house. Your imagination naturally projects that image and the setting is complete. The couple move through a series of experiences common to all. Some imagined and others brutally real, which is again unexpected when it occurs.
The magazine (Justin Bernhaut) epitomises the simplicity of the production values. I expected the set (Geoff Cobham) to be dust and drop sheets, paint and so on, but I didn’t get that. At first I was unimpressed by the lack of ‘otherness’ and theatricality in the performance space. However, this was constantly changing as a house does, little by little. The sound design (Nick Roux) is excellent, switching from an onstage boombox to surrounding speakers effortlessly, and at times, all encompassing.
Did I mention this show was at times hilarious? The zany but very real characters gave room for us to laugh at our obsessively house ambitious selves, realised in the excessive mortgages and magazines, TV shows and the conversation staple of house prices and rate rises. Torque Show found the humour in this and exposed the underbelly’s effect on our families.
Finally, the dance itself was unpretentious in stark contrast to the characters and their world. There were moments of utter beauty and fragility surrounded by violence and heartbreak. The DIY monster was a favourite moment to watch out for.
IN THE FOYER: There were many conversations as the audience barriers had been removed, becoming ‘friends’ for the evening, in a non-threatening way. I didn’t hear, or overhear, negative or constructive criticism from anyone. A dancer I sat next to was very moved by the lover’s bed routine, as was I.