Suite Synergy
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Suite Synergy

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I wasn’t sure what to expect from Suite Synergy. That’s perhaps unusual in the context that I’d done my research and interviewed the creator. I knew the aims, sure. Create jobs for Australian dancers. Create an appreciation of Graeme Murphy’s work equal to the overseas fanfare, in his own home. Honourable aims.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Suite Synergy. That’s perhaps unusual in the context that I’d done my research and interviewed the creator. I knew the aims, sure. Create jobs for Australian dancers. Create an appreciation of Graeme Murphy’s work equal to the overseas fanfare, in his own home. Honourable aims.


Suite Synergy brings together the most striking of two of Murphy’s pieces and its intention is to create a show that wows, a stand out spectacle to draw the non-dance audience. And to some extent, it goes part of the way, to achieving this.

 

The musicians, led by composer Michael Askill, are exceptional. Not only gifted percussionists, you can see their involvement in the music, they are affected by the music, and one another, even if one of the ensemble happens to be swaying above them on an elevated platform, as is often the case. They play drums and many varied percussion instruments, in one exceptional piece, Pummel, they play dancers’ bodies, and Banged and Tapped sees Askill play a human drum kit. The musicians are truly fantastic.


It’s perhaps against this backdrop of connection with the music, each other and the instruments that the dancers appear to fall short. They are talented dancers. It’s opening night. Perhaps the rehearsal period was a little shorter than usual. For whatever reason the connection which exists in the musicians and their music is lacking in the dancers and their connection to the music and one another. They are good dancers. The solo acts in particular, shine – Caleb Bartolo in Thumper stands out, Kalman Warhaft’s clown-like play in Sticky Moments is exceptional, but for the most part the pieces involving the broader group fall short of a show with synergy in the title.

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