Piano + percussion = some mighty memorable music

Three: Tap Into Topology (Topology)

Brisbane Powerhouse, Visy Theatre

December 11 – 14

The Visy Theatre stage is stripped back and bare apart from a range of instruments… piano, drum kit, double bass… collectively hinting at the musical array to follow. For that is what “Three: Tap Into Topology” is about, the merging of discrete genres in exploration of the fluidity of stylistic definitions. And the result is something surprisingly wonderful.

As Brisbane Powerhouse Artists-in-Residence, Topology’s eminence should be of no surprise to Brisbane audiences. Indeed, the group is known for the breadth and depth of its collaborations; the quintet, comprised of strings, saxophone and piano, has created impressive original work over its many years with collaborators such as Geoffrey Rush, Queensland Ballet, Kate Miller-Heidke, Katie Noonan, the Kransky Sisters, to name but a few.


In “Three”, Topology has come together with drum soloist (and rhythmic genius) Grant Collins and tap-dance master Bill Simpson to create a bold new show that combines music and dance in presentation of both exciting original compositions, such as the memorable Gavin’s Stomach by Bernard Hoey.

The show begins delicately, with the strings adding a haunting quality to early pieces. Before long, the onslaught, as Robert Davies deems it, it begins and Grant Collins shows his stuff with innovative and enthralling drum set compositions, impressively, at one stage, using all four limbs both individually and collectively to match the different time beats of the other instruments. This man’s skill is amazing. But, this performance is made all that more engaging by his charming audience interaction and his obvious passion. And it is wonderful to see some younger audience members playing air drums along with him.

Grant Collins defies stereotypical drum set methodologies, which brings out the full potential of five musicians. This is particularly seen in the re-imagining of Carl Vine’s Piano Concerto No. 1 to include drum collaboration. Indeed, collaboration is the feature of all of the Three numbers. And the show also features Queensland tap-dance wizard Bill Simpson, Artistic Director and choreographer for Red Hot Rhythm, a Gold Coast/Brisbane based dance company. Simpson is a skilled dancer of poise and power, and the synchronicity of his moves with the music swelling in accompaniment is impressive.


As Grant Collins remarked, this is not your Triple M type of music, which is a good thing, as some music has to be seen and not just heard. “Three” is a show that is everything a show should be: exciting, contemporary, innovative, intelligent and brilliantly achieved. And as I overheard a departing patron reflect, “it is always good to experience different things.”

*A review of this show also appears on the XS Entertainment website.


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