/ Royal Croquet Club

Undertone

The premise is positively mouthwatering: an interdisciplinary circus act in which the movements of performers trigger electronic music.

Black Carnation Productions had a winner of a concept here, and the opening of Undertone delivered – leaping bodies creating their own energetic soundtrack, and that music in-turn setting the pace for further acrobatics. It was a symbiosis that couldn’t go wrong – sound and movement feeding off each other, morphing and evolving in new directions.

Except, that is, this particular branch was hacked off before it had the chance to grow to its full potential.

Suddenly, inexplicably, the troupe changed things up and started miming a ping-pong match, relegating music maestro Zoltan Fecso to overseeing sound effects for a bouncing ball. It was a good laugh and everything but guys. Seriously. You were on the verge of something there and you just took your bat and ball and walked away from it, choosing instead to be just another charmingly rough-around-the-edges variety act, a poor man’s A Simple Space minus the sense of identity.

There were some further tokenistic efforts here and there to include some more movement-generated sound, but perhaps director/performer Avan Whaite was cautious of over-exploiting the premise and being dismissed as a kind of one-note novelty act.

Which is a shame, because as any good musician knows, a lot can be done with just one note when it is given time to resonate.

★★½