The Age

Reviewer Clive O’Connell

October 17, 2005

Horti Hall, October 15 On the Edge of Sunset 5
BMW Edge, Federation Square, October 14

Collisions, a collaboration between Rawcus theatre company and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s City of Melbourne Outreach Program, was a one-off performance under the Melbourne Festival umbrella, directed by Kate Sulan and Gillian Howell.

This partnership is a first-stage effort and, if Saturday afternoon’s demonstration is any indication, plenty of support can be harnessed for it.

Six MSO musicians prepared performers from Rawcus, a body involving performers with and without disabilities. The various sections of the hour-long production found cast members dancing, singing, speaking or making their own music, notably in a jazzy percussion number taking wheelchairs out of their handicapped context, using them as versatile sound sources.

You were left at the end of the hour with memories of delight, sadness and an overall sense of longing. Much of the work came in duets of player and dancer, and these brought about some moving passages.

At the end came a placid staging, rich as a Rembrandt night-scene, of the MSO players performing Ives’ The Unanswered Question, dancers at their feet or looking over their shoulders in a tableau of peace and shared affection to flood your eyes and break your heart.

At the fifth of the Edge of Sunset events from Chamber Music Australia, the content was all Australian, with Brenton Broadstock’s ornament-rich trio All That is Solid Melts into Air, followed by the 1962 Trio of Don Banks, notable for its deft interweaving of Genevieve Clifford’s horn with the supporting violin and piano.

Daniel Salecich’s sextet Descent, here given its world premiere, impressed as music living inside itself.

It was a subtle creeping towards statements as all instruments, except piano, used slow glissandos or notes bent in quarter-tone mode, so that the work’s fulcrum became the keyboard, while the mobile flute of Sarah Beggs, Richard Haynes’ clarinet or the string trio unsettled the listener’s expectations.

A work generous with atmospherics and production devices, Descent impressed for its gravity and unflashy sincerity.