You know what they say: One man’s “transcendent, synaesthetic emporium of gothic-erotic dreams, rock’n’roll angels, soul searing music, porcelain icicles, couture, sculpture, skin shedding tales and total art gesamtkunstwerk,” is another man’s “tepid, tokenistic cornucopia of faux-rotic diary entries, anthropomorphised ice beat-poetry, soul-somniferous stagecraft, and total art ges-how-does-a-90-minute-show-go-for-almost-three-hours?”
There is good here, artistic life-preservers we cling to in a desperate attempt to stay afloat. We are fortunate to have Ray Dimakarri Dixon perform, his language and song filling the space as a sort of sonic sorbet, a theatrical palate cleanser.
Rachel Lewindon is a revelation on the piano, while Mama Alto and Piera Dennerstein were wonderful. Their voices were a salve, an antidote, an amazing pair of performances that combined to make something extraordinary without ever taking themselves too seriously.
Jennifer Hector’s design was along similar lines to the first chapter of The Rapture from a couple of years ago, the entire floor of the space at fortyfivedownstairs taken up with an enormous raised crucifix stage, lined with light bulbs. Icicles hang individually from the ceiling, while lights behind the translucent windows flare beautiful colours throughout.
A shame then that much of what stalked on that stage was as disappointing as it was, as repeated attempts to confront the audience or make a section mythic fell flat. More thought-provoking territory has been and is being explored elsewhere, such as in Petra Kalive’s Oil Babies, MKA’s 186,000, or Arts House’s Refuge 2019 program.
Yet, despite the vapid mesmerism and predictable ‘shocks’, The Rapture – Chapter II gave a platform for indigenous and non-male voices and those will always be worth listening to.
The Rapture – Chapter II: Art vs Extinction
fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Performance: Saturday 7 September 2019 – 7.30pm
Season continues to 29 September 2019
Information and Bookings: www.fortyfivedownstairs.com
Image: Moira Finucane in The Rapture – Chapter II – photo by Jodie Hutchinson
Review: David Collins