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Thursday 10 November 2016

Review: No More Dancing In The Good Room

Posted in: Performance
By Jay Bennie - 3rd February 2016

No More Dancing In The Good Room

Performed by Chris Parker

Created by Chris Parker and Jo Randerson

The Loft, Q Theatre, Auckland for Auckland Pride Festival

6.30pm 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 13 February

In a packed theatre tonight there were only a handful of gay men and possibly no lesbians or others of our life experience present to really 'get' the convolutions and depth of a bijou masterpiece of dance and drama.

This original and autobiographical piece by gay dancer and actor Chris Parker, most recently seen in Auckland in Hudson and Halls (he was the blonde one), mines the difficult depths of his own sense of being different, of his internalised fight to fly free, of conflicting messages and barely understood urges to dance and to be gay.

While most of the straights tonight saw and reacted to a quirky gay kid with issues, any glbti person would have seen so much more, would have seen seen into the deeper issues and more personal experiences only a young person who has struggled to find and release their true selves can truly understand.

Parker's dancing is lithe and graceful one minute, raw and base the next. His halting monologues are by turns laugh out loud funny and deeply penetrating, even wounding. From the moment he introduces us to the stifling rules of his suburban parents' no-go 'good room' and we realise this is a trapped and troubled soul seeking release and approval we are hooked.

This is deeply personal stuff, with Parker confronting his audience, which may be imaginary, with floods of childhood frustration, insecurity, determination, bravado, temperament and petulance. He is at once annoying, compelling and riveting. His moods, of dance and of conversation are unpredictable and frenetic as he evokes his private moments of secret freedom and the nearly overwhelming influences of his well-meaning parents. He helps us to see into a strained and constrained psyche as he struggles to reconcile his inner drives and family pressures to conform, to follow the rules.

The final minutes of this 55-minute long show are, quite simply, beautiful and touchingly liberating. I can't say more, don't want to spoil it for you.

No More Dancing In The Good Room is simply superb, and as the first performance of the Auckland Pride Festival which doesn't officially kick off until Friday morning (whose damned fool idea was it to leave out the Gala show which traditionally and usefully marks the start of Auckland Pride and offers up a sampler of the treats to come!) it sets a remarkably high standard.

Please go see it, take your friends and pack out the theatre with glbti understanding because this is a magnificent tour de force which deserves to be experienced by as many glbti people as possible.

- Jay Bennie

Tickets: Q Theatre, 09 309 9771

Jay Bennie - 3rd February 2016

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