QT Sydney, January 11
Joel Bray undoubtedly has charm but it seemed forced during Biladurang.Credit:Pippa Samaya
Biladurang was designated for a dance review by the Sydney Festival, which is how I came to be crowded into a hotel suite with 19 other people and the performer Joel Bray.
He has a career in dance, as a performer and now a choreographer. But this is essentially an autobiographical talk show in which he tells us all being gay, single again after a break-up, one-night stands, exploring the Aboriginal in his ancestry and various other things that make up an hour.
Occasionally, he amplifies the words with movement. Clad in his undies most of the time, he has a handsome golden body, toned by dance, and can move well in the limited space and opportunities he gives himself.
It would have been interesting to see where his physical elasticity could take him as a dancer. Instead, we had words and more words, over-acting his "naturalness" from the excessive effusiveness of his greeting at the start. He undoubtedly has charm but it seemed so forced in these circumstances.
The dramatic high-point (presumably) was when he decided the unknown sexual partner of the previous night had stolen his phone. This sent him into a rage, from which he recovered by taking a bath – viewed by his audience through a camera lens. He returned to us with suds artfully covering the obvious focal point.
We were a mixed audience in every way, by age and gender. I tried to work out others' reactions, but we all had the same polite smiles. None of us was likely to be offended by the content of the piece, and the buzz in the foyer afterwards was friendly.
Biladurang isn't a dance event. More a kind of cabaret. And how you react to it probably depends on how much you have seen of life and theatre – good theatre.
Until January 20.
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