Burning Daylight is a contemporary dance and theatre production about the remote north-western coastal town of Broome by the indigenous and multicultural troupe Marrugeku. It was a reasonably entertaining production but on balance I have given it a NOT based on a single criteria – would I recommend it to a friend? And the answer, my friends, is no.
Firstly, the positives. Some of the dancing was really exciting – vigorous and energetic and sharp. Many of the movements incorporated acrobatics/gymnastics and muscle-heavy hip hop choreography, which worked most effectively when the dancers moved in unison. I was particularly impressed by the dynamism and physicality of petite Aboriginal dancer (and joint artistic director) Dalisa Pigram. Finally, the production’s exploration of cultural history, multi-racial cohabitation, deportations and forced removals through a melding of contemporary and indigenous dance, live music and spaghetti-Western video was reasonably effective.
Now, the negatives. I felt that some of the dancers were amateurish in their movements – their limbs lacked tension and intention and I felt like I was watching a person off the street following an aerobics instructor. Some theatrical devices didn’t really work – bubble blowing, Japanese dancing, the final tango number. Finally, it was too long – after about three-quarters of the way through I stopped anticipating what the next vignette would be and just started wondering about how it would finish.