Snappy Dance evokes Gorey terror, wonder

The Boston Herald reviews Snappy’s ballet inspired by E. Gorey’s works, see previous post.

The Boston Globe’s take on the event:

Snappy brings Gorey’s work to life
By Karen Campbell, Globe Correspondent | June 5, 2004

In Snappy Dance Theater’s cleverly inventive new “The Temperamental Wobble,” a FleetBoston Celebrity Series commission given its world premiere last night, the humorously creepy art of author and illustrator Edward Gorey is given “legs.” A woman’s shadow dances with that of her beloved arisen from the grave. Three circus performers cavort as a hanged woman dangles unceremoniously nearby. Tombstones and umbrellas are everywhere, and it’s all presided over by a Gorey-like figure in dark coat, bowler hat, and white tennis shoes.
It’s a nifty idea. Gorey’s darkly warped wit and eerie imagery seem tailor-made for expanding into minidramas, and Snappy’s artistic director Martha Mason along with the company’s six other talented performers have found the material fertile ground. However, the closest “The Temperamental Wobble” comes to any kind of story line is via Bonnie Duncan’s pig-tailed waif (the Innocent Child), who periodically gets abused and neglected in the midst of her feuding parents’ brawl and who ultimately seems to be swallowed up by a forest of thorny carnivorous plants. (That penultimate section, vividly played out in silhouette behind a scrim, is particularly macabre.)
Otherwise, the piece unfolds as a series of illustrations brought to life. Snappy’s trademark is a kind of sculptural gymnastics — acrobatic flips and leaps, off-kilter balances, dancers standing on each others’ shoulders, multilayered lifts — and this piece is a terrific showcase for its physical virtuosity and theatrical vibrance.
Though it’s engaging in its moody eccentricity, it’s a little disjunct over the long haul, and some of the longer sections feel protracted. At 70-plus minutes, the work needs some judicious tightening. What helps hold it together is Michael Rodach’s brilliantly colorful and atmospheric original score. […]

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