A melodic meditation on mortality

When Time Stops (Expressions Dance Company)

QPAC, The Playhouse

September 6 – 14

From award-winning Australian choreographer Natalie Weir and Expressions Dance Company, comes the highly anticipated “When Time Stops”, an original dance work exploring the simplicity of life-changing moments of love, loss and longing.

Contemporary dance is an acquired taste. It is, after all, perhaps the closest performing art to poetry. This is a statement beautifully realised in this journey into some of the most painful parts of the human psyche. The performance explores the cacophony of emotions associated with the moments that determine who we are and what we truly love, as it takes audience members on a voyage of a woman’s last moments of life. It is about the moments of single decisions, simply conveyed in a piece of holistic beauty as (in Terrence Malick style) Natalie Weir captures fleeting images of joy and misery organic to an exploration of humanity.

By design, this is an ambitious work. In many scenes, the stage is a busy space, as the possibilities of a larger ensemble (in addition to twelve musicians) are explored. It is an ambition richly realised. Indeed, the stage and lighting design is enchanting, making use of mirrored surfaces, shades of blues and hues, and alluring shadows; it is a rewarding aesthetic experience. This ethereal imagery is complemented by the original score by Helpmann Award winner Iain Grandage, played live on stage by members of Queensland’s chamber orchestra, Camerata of St John’s.

The combination of these aspects, makes for a melodic meditation on mortality. This is enhanced by performances that are strong, yet fluid, and powerful, yet vulnerable, in accordance with its deeply moving subject matter. “When Time Stops” is not only a show, but an experience of visually stunning moments, that communicates with the audience like poetry.

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