08 July 2015

Young, Hungry and Beautiful

The Young and Hungry Arts Trust Ambassadors are a group of keen bean Year 12 & 13 students, who attend shows at Circa and others theatres throughout the year and write reviews.  They joined us at the beautiful ones on Tuesday night.  Here are two of the reviews for you to enjoy!

Reviewed by Maddy Reese, St Catherine’s College

An enthralling marriage of singing, dance and drama, the beautiful ones is an immersive story which plunges audiences into the hyper-real scene of midnight techno clubs. Lead character Ihia is a lovestruck member of a club’s dance crew, pining away for his lover Hana, who left him many months ago. However her sudden return sets in motion a string of events that threaten to tear them apart again… or possibly reunite them forever. Interspersed with utterly incredible dance sequences, musical numbers and projected light shows, this drama is unlike any other production I have seen before. 

Writer and director Hone Kouka expressed that his ambition for this production was to essentially create eight music videos spliced together with a simple-but-effective plotline in between. This ambition could not have been more perfectly realized, as the drama was convincingly suspenseful and the dance numbers were captivating to watch. I – as a fellow dancer – felt a longing to take to the stage with them. However, when this wish actually came to fruition, I was quite surprised. The involvement of the audience was a previously un-experienced phenomenon; the last thing people expected was for the performers to take their hands, pull them out of the audience and onto the dance floor, during one of the more charismatic musical numbers. This involvement proved to be an incredibly invigorating aspect of the show – now we were able to form a palpable connection with the drama and actors onstage, and it was one of the most fun parts of the whole performance. Pair this with music that all but moves your body for you, and one has a sure-fire method of giving audiences the best stage experience possible.

the beautiful ones is an eloquent combination of set design, musical incorporation and all three aspects of theatre: song, dance and acting. Easily one of the most innovative, successful and exciting productions I have seen this year. It demands you to involve yourself in your entirety: not only mind and body are required, but heart and soul as well. In return, the beautiful ones gives you everything back, rewarding you for its demands. This drama will leave half of your soul on the stage even as you walk out of the theatre.

the beautiful ones - on at Circa until Saturday 11 July


Reviewed by Yasmin Yumul of St Mary’s College
Projections of street scenes, graffiti, rugged walls kick-started the performance which later on evolved to Maori patterns, nature scenes and interiors. Disco coloured lighting frolicked the dark stage. This ominous atmosphere and the characters’ sensuous costume commanded attention. It was a consistent atmosphere that unified the performance. 

Although the show was modern, it kept a Maori motif which made a direct connection to a lot of the character’s ethnicities and the marginalised theme of the show.

The actors had great stage presence as they dominated the floor, the air space and the corners of Circa theatre. It was a delight to watch every dance number, particularly Ihia’s performance as he longed for his lover Hana. Emotion was evident in every movement of his muscles.

The music was at times contemporary topped off with some sick beats.

There were smooth transitions between dance numbers, the music was fluid and so was the lighting. However, the transitions between scenes seemed protracted and gave the impression of ‘technical difficulties.’

The inclusion of the audience in the performance was excellent. An inviting hand from the characters to hop onto their sexy enigmatic world and groove into Ardie’s voice cemented a bond between the two ecospheres (reality and fiction). 

Passion, intensity and flair were palpable in the characters’ dancing. However, it was not only the dancing that engaged the audience’s attention. It was also their personalities; Ardie’s suave attitude, Juju’s cheekiness, Kotiro’s relatability. The fact that the characters’ had their own distinct movements and mannerisms that continued even in moments when they were not the main spectacle of the scene heightened the show’s professionalism. 

The dialogue between characters was ineffective through most of the show as it became lost in the atmosphere.

The show revolved around Ihia waiting for his lover Hana to come back. The plot was not executed well. The revelation of the twist was poor as there was little involvement, reactions from the main characters (i.e. Ihia, Hana) and it seemed to have been disregarded too easily. In addition to this, the plot itself seemed to be 2-dimensional, predictable, there was no depth or breadth achieved in the exploration of the love story. It was a surface plot about a boy waiting for a girl.

Overall, however I would moderately recommend it. It is a stimulating, and wonderful treat for the eyes and those that adore dance.

the beautiful ones is on at Circa until Saturday 11 July.

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