The Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House, January 12
I SINCERELY hope there was no one I knew in the house at the Saturday matinee performance of Blaze because when we all stood to perform Atomic Food – interpreting various comestibles including broccoli, celery and baked beans (you can imagine that one) – I didn’t do as well as I would have liked. The Blaze crew looked great; I looked enthusiastic, as did everyone around me. The place was packed with youngsters – a most heartening sight.
The Sydney Opera House likes to bring in a crowd-pleasing dance work in January and Blaze fits the holiday brief well, putting the unstoppable exuberance of street dance onstage while keeping things strictly G-rated. There’s a flash or two of perfect pecs right at the start of the show, which I appreciated, but after that the atmosphere is fun and inclusive as the young men throw themselves around like low-flying helicopters and the young women are zesty and full of personality. I liked them all, but Jomecia Oosterwolde lights the room with an astonishing amount of wattage for one so tiny.
Blaze isn’t the most perfectly structured show of its kind – there are too many places when it’s not clear to the audience when to applaud – but its connection with the audience is strong and generous. There are also a few too many endings but the cast managed to pull out even more energy each time, so mustn’t grumble.
Blaze announces right up front that if people want to film or take photographs, that’s absolutely fine by them. It’s an unusual stance, and many in the audience took Blaze up on the offer on Saturday afternoon. A young woman in front of me appeared set to experience the show exclusively through the medium of her viewfinder as her filming went on and on. What is it, I thought, about people ignoring what’s right in front of them in favour of a reproduction of it?
Then, finally, she put the bloody thing down and started to watch the show. She didn’t pick it up again either. The performance itself, not a second-hand version of it, won out. Phew.
Blaze continues until January 20