I have not felt such sense of warmth and being cared for while watching a show than I have in the world premiere of Rawcus' Here We Are Amongst You. The Rawcus Ensemble began creating this in December 2019, looking into ideas around belonging, togetherness and being present in the moment, which is of particular significance now after the last few years, which for Melbournians has included a few hundred days of lockdown.
After a genuinely caring welcome by one of the cast, they begin walking through the space. Performed in the round, they enter and exit behind the audience, which makes you feel like not only part of the performance, but also part of this group. The smiles on their faces and the joy that they express as they walk and then begin to jog, run and skip with each other and around the audience is incredibly infectious.As Here We Are Amongst You progresses, the movements, choreography, and direction by the company’s Artistic Director Kate Sulan (in her final show with Rawcus) become more and more elaborate and unexpected. Just when you think you know which direction someone is going to take, they turn another way. Or when one person stops dancing, someone else from the pack begins. Even though these are inconsequential events, seeing how these people continue with what they were doing and equating it to the constant surprises life throws at you, reassures you that we are not alone in this.
Jethro Woodward's intelligent sound design and composition is sublime. At times wild and free and at others serene and dreamlike, it fully immerses you into what is taking place in front of your eyes and keeps you there. There are moments when the ensemble is stampeding around the audience, and you can feel the vibrations from the floor travel into your feet and shake through your entire body, as if your body is urging you to give yourself over to what's happening.
Subtle additions to outfits that lead to full costume changes result in an almost runway model showdown with some very bold and interesting outfits. But the sense of play, of dress ups, remains strong throughout and culminates into a very powerful finale.
And then, before you know it, the lights go down on the performers and the show is over. Here We Are Amongst You is the emotional release you didn't know you needed, filling your heart like a big, comforting hug.
Venue: Arts House, 521 Queensberry St, North Melbourne
Season: Until 10 July | 7:30pm Wed - Sat, 5pm Sun, 2pm Sat 9 July
Duration: 55 minutes
Tickets: $35 Pay If You Can | $20 Standard
Bookings: Arts House
Image credit: Sarah Walker
The Rawcus Ensemble are: Clem Baade, Michael Buxton, Harriet Devlin- Dunbar, Rachel Edward, Nilgun Guven, Joshua Lynzaat, Paul Matley, Mike Mc Evoy, Ryan New, Kerryn Poke, Louise Riisik, Prue Stevenson and Danielle von der Borsch