The Blackguard’s Second Production – Still Breathing
DUTI Studios, Sydney, June 17
Reviewed by Natasha Crane
This show was RAW, REAL and REVOLUTIONARY!
Performing their second season production, I was lucky enough to attend the final show of The Blackguard’s Still Breathing. Dealing with challenging themes of mental health and suicide, this show really struck some deep chords with me.
It was definitely confronting and a little uncomfortable, but in a positive way. One moment in the show I found myself with tears welling in my eyes as I watched company director Brady Kitchingham walk backwards, expressing so much honest and unapologetic emotion with a noose around his neck … as I said … uncomfortable.
And this is definitely not your average dance show. Appropriately, it did come with a 16 years plus age warning.
Now typical of Kitchingham’s unique style, Still Breathing is set to heavy rock music, and with its hard-out choreography and dark subject matter, this becomes a very unique show. Kitchingham himself describes his choreographic style as ‘thrash’. While this is not the type of show I’d like to see every week I believe it has great purpose and value, and is something missing from the current contemporary dance scene.
Still Breathing not only allowed myself to acknowledge and release some negative emotions, there were also a number of audience members who were deeply affected by what they saw. The fact that this production solicited such strong reactions from the audience is evidence of the power of this medium and The Blackguard’s conviction.
As a life coach who works primarily with performers I am all too aware of some of the mental struggles that we all face as human beings. This show did an excellent job of bringing some of those subjects to the surface in a creative way. While it was still confronting, I feel it is always easier to confront these things creatively through the eyes of someone else.
The cast did an exceptional job of performing and expressing themselves in a vulnerable way and really affected their audience. The 8 cast of Still Breathing are: Brady Kitchingham, Georgia Shae Anderson, Jeremy Santos, Tayna-Le Golinelli, David Green, Maria Costa, Corey Dohmen & Lace Hanlon.
I truly respect any creative artist who is brave, courageous and willing to do something that is different. I have never seen a dance theatre show like this before. Kitchingham is fully aware that this show is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea and I love that he believes enough in it to produce and stage it regardless.
There is space in this world for all different kinds of work and people and I believe The Blackguard is catering for a niche market that would not normally be reached by your regular dance show.
Kitchingham’s speech at the end was very uplifting and encouraging and really helped to create some very important awareness around mental health. Sometimes it is very easy for all of us to suppress and ignore negative emotions or situations in our lives, this show I believe helped bring some of those things to the surface.
I was very moved and hope that it inspires people to seek help if they need it. It inspired me to be even more caring, loving and accepting of myself and others.
Art that truly moves you is priceless.