Winnipeg-based choreographer Jolene Bailie creates an absurd, cake-fuelled world filled with Elizabethan collared unicorns, tiny bulls, mountains of plastic beer cups and manic "Panties for Peace" campaigns.
A series of episodic vignettes explores "what it means to be human," with Bailie’s 14-year old contemporary dance troupe members — Claire Marshall, Hélène Le Moullec Mancini, Krista Nicholson, Sarah Roche and Jillian Groening — performing with conviction and energy.
Many striking stage pictures abound. Particularly haunting is the black-hooded trio of women — or the unicorn that grunts and shakes responses to recited cue cards.
In many ways, the 60-minute, surrealistic production is the perfect fringe show. Poetic, spoken references to Canadian painter Alex Colville’s galloping horses run like a narrative thread throughout. The show also pops in the surprisingly dance-friendly theatre, brilliantly lit by Hugh Conacher with evocative soundscapes by Susan Chafe.
Some of the choreography feels underdeveloped. And no definitive answers are given at the end. However, the show’s final scene, where dancers bob up and down on orange-rimmed trampolines, still musing about life while eating tortes, brings us full circle in his collection of theatrical images, albeit enigmatic.
— Holly Harris