Saturday, 18 March 2023

Triptych review

Anyone who has witnessed a Phillip Adams dance work knows to expect the unexpected. Adams has a knack for creating daring and disruptive pieces that explore themes around sexuality in its rawest form. His newest work Triptych, takes inspiration from Francis Bacon’s 1970 triptych painting, Triptych, in which Bacon used distortion and fragmentation to call attention to his own ideas around love, sex and religion.

In the first of three parts, four dancers (Harrison Hall, Samuel Harnett-Welk, Benjamin Hurley and Oliver Savariego) dressed in simple yet stunning Toni Maticevski designs, spend forty minutes writhing and convulsing on a circular pink carpet to a highly piercing and penetrating score by David Chisholm and Duane Morrison. While one pair appears to have more intimate and vulnerable interactions, the other pair is more aggressive and brutal. The two pairs circle each other, and at times make physical contact with each other, indicating how civility and animal instincts can easily be interchanged, something that Bacon depicted with his art. There are times where you wonder if Adams has choreographed this or if the dancers have completely given themselves over to these urges and being spellbound by the stirring composition. It's a rare experience to watch a performance and feel such intensity permeate throughout the room and be utterly transfixed by what is unfolding.