Friday, July 28, 2017


Presented by QL2 Dance
Ruth Osborne, Artistic Director
Canberra Theatre Centre to July 29

Reviewed by Len Power 27 July 2017

With ‘This Poisoned Sea’, QL2 Dance has brought together four choreographers to create a full-length work that is thoughtful in its intent and electrifying and entertaining in its execution.

The thirty young dancers in the ensemble are aged 13 to 19.  Most are from Canberra and surrounding regions and there are four visiting dancers from Perth, Western Australia.  Of the choreographers, Claudia Alessi is from Western Australia and Jack Ziesing and Eliza Sanders are QL2 alumni.  Ruth Osborne, the Artistic Director of QL2, has also choreographed some of this work.

Taking the poem ‘The Rime Of the Ancient Mariner’ by Samuel Taylor Coleridge as the basis for the work, the ensemble explores humanity’s instinctual destructive nature and shows the impact of our selfishness on one of our most important natural resources, the sea.  Beginning on film with magnificent vistas of the sea and dramatic coastline, the dance reflects the beauty of the ocean and its magnificent creatures.  As the dance progresses, the beauty becomes increasingly spoiled by pollution, impacting heavily on the aquatic life that struggles to survive.  Finally, with education, there is a realization that we can work on reversing the problem and the show ends with optimism and a warning not to be complacent.

This is QL2 Dance’s most cohesive full length show yet.  Its strong underlying storyline gives it a dramatic arc that is very satisfying.  The choreography throughout is clear in its intent, dramatic and often dreamlike, and always beautiful to watch.  The dancers attack the work with enthusiasm and perform with a discipline and preciseness over a continuous seventy minute running time that is awe-inspiring.

The other elements of the show add considerably to its success.  Music composer, Adam Ventoura, has provided an eerie and atmospheric score with driving rhythms that give the show an epic grandeur.  The lighting design by Mark Dyson is especially fine for this show, enhancing the choreographer’s work with subtle variations.  The video by Wild Bear Entertainment is constantly fascinating and melds nicely with the work on stage.  The marine-themed costumes by Cate Clelland are attractive and practical.

It’s exciting to watch the young performers in this company producing work of such high quality and entertainment value.  I really enjoyed it.

Photographs by Lorna Sim Photography

Len Power’s reviews are also broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7’s ‘Artcetera’ program (9.00am Saturdays) and on other selected Artsound programs.