Thursday, March 10, 2022




MACRO - Gravity and Other Myths

Opening event of the Adelaide Festival 2022. Adelaide Oval. March 5 2022. Gravity and Other Myths in association with the Adelaide Festival and featuring Djuka Mali, First Nation Performers, Christie Anderson and the Adelaide Young Voices.

Reviewed by Peter Wilkins

The forecast rain held off for the Adelaide Festival’s spectacular opening event under a cloudy starry sky at the Adelaide Oval. Seven thousand people sat on chairs on the grass before a large stage with huge screens. A complex lighting rig dominated the stage and lights were set around the edge of the seated areas  to capture the choreography of indigenous dance troupe Djuka Mali and the members of Gravity and Other Myths. After a moving and powerful Welcome to Kuarna country, the stage burst into life with the energy and vitality of the First Nation dancers from the Northern Territory. A male and female singer filled the air with their vocals and the celtic rhythms of the Scottish highlands echoed through the night in a salute to the 70th anniversary of the Edinburgh Festival which this year will include Adelaide’s very own dynamic physical theatre troupe, the daring and remarkable Gravity and Other Myths in their performance of Macro for this year’s opening event of the 22 Adelaide Festival

Co-Artistic Director of th festival, Neil Armfield AO opened the evening’s celebration indicating that this would be a streamed event to the state’s regions and in a tribute to legendary spin bowler Shane Warne who had just died, Armfield asked the crowd to observe a minute’s silence in honour of Warnie’s gift to cricket and his nation.

Moving through the audience, the young performers of Gravity and Other Myth’s ascended to the stage to the magnificent, soaring and uplifting choral sounds of the Young Adelaide  Voices of Aurora conducted by Christie Anderson and to the accompanied voices of the two singers. I have no programme sadly and cannot acknowledge the spine thrilling contribution that they made to the evening spectacle, but singers, dancers and athletic performers gave the evening a dynamism befitting an opening event.

Unfortunately much of the real impact of this collaboration of song, dance and gymnastic wonderment was lost as a result of seating on the flat, indistinct and dark lighting and  performances that might have thrilled and amazed in a theatre were diffused by the lack of attention to the need to shape the performance for such an outside event on a relatively cool nd cloudy Adelaide Autumn evening.

Phoo by Darcy Grant
Macro is in fact a re-staging of Gravity and Other Myth’s brilliant show The pulse in which the young performers tumble, leap, twist and twirl and create towers of four people high. As one performer standing high above the shoulders of the ones below remarked “I think something dangerous is about to happen” Fortunately it doesn’t but the moment of suspense is palpable in Darcy Grant’s staging and choreography of the performance. When I reviewed this production at Her Majesty’s Theatre some years ago, I wrote:


Absolutely phenomenal! There is no other word to describe the exhilaration and sheer awe and amazement inspired by The Pulse.  In a remarkable collaboration of talent and skill and body and voice, Gravity and Other Myths with the Young Adelaide Voices of Christie Anderson’s Aurora have redefined the art of acrobatics, not just as a display of balance and tumbling but as a well-spring of the human spirit, soaring to the heights of their art form and transporting the audience into a magical
realm of wonder and amazement. Because of Lockdown and the inability of the three core ensembles of Gravity and Other Myths to undertake their international tours, the company of young performers combined with the thrilling Aurora singers to present a performance to blow the mind and scale the very heights of athleticism and gymnastic artistry.

This evening’s performance has not altered my judgement of this phenomenal young troupe. However the opening event is a lesson in knowing your space. People seated directly in front of the stage and quite close were naturally blown away by the performance. Those who found it difficult to se beyond the heads in front of them or from the side could only share the experience through the two screens. However, an outside event can not be lit as though it is taking place in a theatre and as a result the screens were too dark and as a streamed event it would make little impact on the viewers in the state’s country regions.

In concept, the Opening event was an excellent free gift to the 7000 who were fortunate enough to secure tickets. For the visitor from the Gold Coast who sat next to me, the patterned striding across the stage between acts was too repetitive and he kept asking me “Who are they” “I can’t see the stage” He left to meet someone just before the fireworks and would have missed the climactic display of colour and sound. He would have enjoyed a much shorter event and perhaps he will return next year when many of the problems will have been sorted out.

The issues that need to be resolved do not detract from the superb talents of all performers and the gift of Welcome to country, which is always moving in its generosity and spiritual sharing of the land and its First Nation People. It in no way diminishes the sheet joi d’vivre and life force of the Djuka Mali dancers or the captivating, soaring and luring voices of the singers and unending choral sound and numbering of the Adelaide Voices. With more effective lighting and a raised stage spectators on the Adelaide Oval and viewers as far afield as Port Augusta and Naracoorte would have been vowed by an event that could have fulfilled its promise.