Australia’s Chunky Move has come to disturb and entertain our town with Tense Dave, a cheeky, vivid dance theater work concocted by Gideon Obarzanek, who heads the company, choreographer Lucy Guerin, and director Michael Kantor. It takes place on a continuously revolving stage, at first compartmentalized into wedges. These are little prison cells in which we get brief glimpses of Dave, a haunted fellow with the fixed gaze and constricted body language of a potential serial killer, and his neighbors (or fantasies): an elegant sadist, a nightgowned damsel with extravagant suicidal impulses, a languid lady given to enacting the scenarios of Victorian bodice rippers, and a creepy fellow who does nasty things to small creatures in his spare time. Dave starts out as a voyeur and eavesdropper, then enters the others’ spaces, first furtively, then brazenly. Once the panels come down and they all operate at full throttle, the proceedings escalate into stylized melodramas of gory mayhem that are at once hallucinatory and absurd. The whole business—given its sly intelligence, deft theatricality, and perfect pitch—is immensely satisfying.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 24, 2005