After a trying 5 day lockdown it was a relief to be among the few who could revel in the sublimely silly A-Z of Dance.
We were privileged because the lockdown was concluded at 6.00pm that very afternoon. The Fringe management decided to go ahead with Callan’s 7.45pm show. However, because of ongoing audience limits only half of the sold-out audience would be allowed into the show. Such is the immediacy of facebook and many other communication devices there was not a disgruntled refused queue outside the red and yellow tent. Just a smaller group of delighted and responsive comedy enthusiasts.
Callan was at his most disarmingly dishevelled, charming self as he explained that the ensemble had had a hugely difficult rehearsal schedule. Nobody could give them definite dates or whether the Fringe itself would go on past the lockdown. A better microphone would have made him easier to understand. He was supported by a truly fabulous trio of dancers, Brie Caraciolo, Rafaela Lico and Lisa Drennan.
The concept was to race through a huge menu of hit dance video numbers with Callan performing in synch with the lead dancer. His moves are extraordinarily fluid but he satirizes the artists cruelly with his funny, slightly off moves and hysterical facial contortions. He cleverly sends himself up at the same time. (Look at me I’m such a dork.) Very endearing.
Openly he admitted “This was the show you would never see again,” because it was so under rehearsed and generally unready. One of the dancers told me after the show that the few rehearsals had largely been done on Zoom.
Hence to the alphabet performed backwards commencing with Z, at lightning speed, though possibly too speedy for all the audience to keep pace. The most successful moments were when a projection of a singer’s hit video played as a backdrop to Callan and the dancers’ rendition of the number. Theirs perfection, his pretty smooth but slightly wonky. It would have been a better show if there were projected images of all the referenced artists. Sometimes the screen was blank. To be fair the audience recognised all the songs and moves with just the audio tracks.
The earlier highlights of the alphabet included Zorba, Xanadu, Worst Things, a rousing version of The Time Warp, Single Ladies, Nut Bush City Limits, Macarena, Moscow and La Vida Loca. There was more. Much more! From the outset the audience was completely onside stamping, hooting and clapping along.
There were some funny interludes such as the advice never to make eye contact with the person you are dancing with while using the move “pelvic thrust”. Admirably demonstrated with an obliging older male front seat patron. After a few more of Premier Mark McGowan’s “Illegal Dances” we exited with an exuberant and exhausting (for Callan), A for aerobics.
A worthy effort under difficult circumstances.
2021 Perth Fringe World
A-Z of Dance
Venue: The Gold Digger at Girls School | 2 Wellington St, Perth, WA
Dates: until 14 Feb 2021
Tickets: $29.50 – $33.50