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O Vertigo - Melbourne Fringe 2017

Home > Melbourne > Comedy | Dancing | Festivals | Indoor | Nightlife | September
by Samsara (subscribe)
I am a director, playwright, and theatre critic with a Masters in Writing for Performance. You can check out my my portfolio and musings at
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Jacob Edmonds is feeling groovy
Jacob Edmonds is a dancer with a great training background and a lot of innate curiosity and questioning and his 2017 Melbourne Fringe contribution O Vertigo demonstrates a great basis for a long and intriguing choreographic career. O Vertigo is actually two solo dance works - 'Feeling Groovy' and 'O Vertigo' - which combine to make up the full program at St Michael's in North Carlton.

Jacob Edmonds
Jacob Edmonds

Edmonds is a classically trained dancer, beginning his studies at the Australian Ballet School before going on to the Victorian College of The Arts. I suspect his exploratory nature and questioning of form was much more at home in the experimental environment at the VCA.

Edmonds' first work, 'Feeling Groovy' has already been performed in New Zealand. It is a humorous approach questioning the relationship between audience and performer, dancer to dance, and dance styles with dance companies. Billed as "dance theatre... physical theatre... contemporary dance... avant guard... post modern... analytical futuristic movement... structured improvisational introspection..." and so on we know before the performance even begins this is going to be an evening of irreverence and rebellion - everything I like in my live theatre!

Jacob Edmonds, O Vertigo, Feeling Groovy, Melbourne Fringe Festival, St Micheal's
Jacob Edmonds

This idea of malcontent and deconstruction is not new - nothing is new anymore. Edmonds goes somewhat further than most artists though, taking on all modern dance concepts and practitioners. My favourite moment is when he does a montage of the various high profile dance companies and nails their tropes perfectly. This piece is at its weakest when he embraces the theatrical aspects and unfortunately, he has the balance wrong. He spends too much time in narrative and horseplay which, without an outside director to help him craft his skills, does not have enough gravitas to hold our attention. On the other hand, he does not spend enough time in the physicality of formal dance technique which is his strength. This is a shame because the result is that he does not fully extend and create good lines in those sections thus diminishing the whole performance.

After interval though, Edmonds comes out with 'O Vertigo' and here we see the beginnings of a true artist. Sporting a killer soundtrack comprised of music from Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttal, 'O Vertigo' explores a question of soul and embodiment. There are two Adams. One is in the flesh and the other is on the TV screen. The TV Adam wants to come out and play and in the act of helping him, the live Adam leaves himself vulnerable to possession.

Jacob Edmonds, O Vertigo, Feeling Groovy, Melbourne Fringe Festival, St Micheal's
Jacob Edmonds

'O Vertigo' is funny in that Freaky Friday style of body switching and has some element of the old Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale 'The Red Shoes'. Edmonds' dancing in this piece is much more what you would expect although he still needs an outside eye to help him with his lines and technique. The true genius of 'O Vertigo' is the audio-visual work. He really has worked through the interactions in great detail and his timing is impeccable.

Dance is not a genre which gets a lot of space in Fringe so it is great to see Edmonds taking it on. His strengths are clarity of concept and fantastic sense of irreverance and humour. When he finds a directorial partner I think his work will really take off.

2 stars

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*Samsara was invited as a guest
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Why? Laugh endlessly as modern dance is deconstructed beyond recognition
When: 26 September - 1 October
Where: St Michael's Anglican Church
Cost: $18.50
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