Sunday 17 March 2024

Future Proof review

Every day we are reminded that the world is in a critical state of affairs. It can be immensely disheartening to say the least. However, with Future Proof, Gravity Dolls have found the beauty within the despair in a captivating physical theatre / acrobatics piece that explores what keeps us going, what got us here and what we need to do to ensure that we can remain.

The show opens with the performers - Harlow Casey, Tim Rutty, Karina Schiller, Nina Robertson, Cassia Jamieson and Easa Min-Swe - moving on a revolving circular platform as they each express various "what if" questions around life, death and the world. It's a great introduction to Future Proof, with their brightly coloured outfits by Rutty and Harlow's direction, where we see the gripping chaos of a world colliding with ideas and ideals. This is perfectly executed with the following act that presents as a sales pitch for more plastic in the world with breathtaking design and adept direction as Rutty walks and sits on clouds of plastic bags that envelop the remaining performers.

Rutty's set and costumes, Ian Moorhead's sound and Richard Vabre's lighting in particular, are inspired and innovative and work hard with the ensemble to create unique acts. But where Future Proof excels, is also where it stumbles, because there is often too much happening on stage to fully appreciate and consider Casey's poetic text. When you've got performers on stage doing intriguing things with their bodies with stunning visual and aural elements coming at you at the same time, it can be overwhelming to focus on the words and take in the overall intention of each piece.

Future Proof
is raising important concerns about the state of our world, and while these are nothing new, the contrast in which these concerns are presented with strong direction, design and performances offers a whole new perspective, even if some of its messaging does get lost in all the noise.

Future Proof was performed 14 – 16 March at Darebin Arts Centre

Image credits: DarrenGill

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