Blood on the Dance Floor

Bllod on the Dancefloor
Bllod on the Dancefloor

Presented by lbijerri Theatre Company, Blood on the Dance Floor is a carefully crafted and well-wrought performance, brutally honest, it drives home a message surrounding the realities faced by those living on the margins of society, and those facing the challenge of living with HIV. For this alone, Blood on the Dancefloor should be praised, it’s a delicately balanced, highly autobiographical all times courageous, solo performer Jacob Boehme.

The performance begins from the moment audience enter the theatre, with Boehme, dressed in a silk kimono ushering people to their seats, the audience interaction here is perfect, it allows, from the outset, a sense of intimacy and comfort to be fostered, which is central to this works success. The dialogue in the opening scene is punchy, full of high camp melodrama, and a beautiful juxtaposition from which the following scenes unfold, centralized on the deaths left in wake of the HIV epidemic in Australia in the 1980’s and 90’s, going someway in giving greater clarity and depth. Its material that we have all been in contact with in some way, but here it is to an extent re-invented.

Aside from this material, connection to place, rejection and ancestry are also woven into this rich and sweeping narrative, reaching an emotional crescendo that is deeply effecting. Blood on the Dance Floor’s is made all the more compelling by the truth that lies behind the story, the connection between narrative and performer is illustrated and made all the more impressive by the direction given by Isaac Drandic. The choreography by Mariaa Randall is suitably emotive, however given Boehme’s impressive background in dance, more time for these segments should have been granted.

The production values are slick, with the use of projections again featuring in this performance, though a beautiful element, their necessity could be questioned, are such elements needed here? Or is this performance already owning of enough merit, to allow for such elements to be stripped back? Blood on the Dance Floor has an important message to communicate, and perhaps the use of such device ultimately detracts from the work as a whole. Music and sound design are equally well thought out, ultimately though these elements don’t really help in propelling the work forward, though certainly do not detract from the work as a whole, perhaps integrating more recognisable sounds or music would of provided a greater emotional hook.

The biggest question that remains is how successful Blood On the Dance Floor is in its wanting to generate much needed conversation surrounding HIV and the stigma attached, perhaps if this work was to be taken out of the somewhat elitist realms of theatre, then it would indeed be successful in its mission.

All in all, Blood on the Dance Floor is a performance driving by a powerful narrative, one which delivers a visual feast that is resonate, deeply questioning and an unflinching representation of the state of the here and now. It plays at Arts House until Saturday the 4th of June book your tickets here

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