Review: Backbone

Backbone will take you through a range of emotions, all without saying a word. The powerful acrobatics rolls through short narratives using the human body to create meaning.

The intimate size and staggered seating of the Dunstan Playhouse is the perfect setting for an immersive show like Backbone. Just remember to enter via the River Torrens pathway as this is the only entry point.

Adelaide group, Gravity & Other Myths, offer a complex performance that wouldn’t be out of place on the world stage. The storyline here centres on the human backbone and strength therein, and is communicated through acrobatics, but feels more like artistic dance. Each movement flows through to the next and the profoundness of these physical feats are subdued by a smooth performance.

The themes are beautiful, complex and subtle and allow the viewer to interpret them with personal touches. Broadly speaking, most centre on cause and effect, and demonstrate action and reaction through physical movement.

One profound scene sees a girl’s body manipulated through a complicated course, directed by the bodies of her peers. For the entire scene, her eyes never break contact with the audience and her face remains blank. She’s spun around, turned upside down, picked up, put down, and eventually ends up at the top of a two-man high A-frame, in which she’s held, dangling only by her head.

Take a moment to break eyes with the stage and you’ll see a two piece music duo who time every beat and tune without a hitch. Even if art and meaning isn’t your thing, the marvel of physical feats will be more than enough to satisfy.

Backbone played at the Dunstan Playhouse as part of Adelaide Festival on March 15 and continues there until March 19.

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