Belgian couple, choreographer Michèle Anne De Mey, and film-maker Jaco Van Dormael together with Kiss & Cry Collective have created a spectacular show like no other with Cold Blood which had a short 4 day season at Adelaide Festival 2020. We’d watch this show over and over if we could!
The narrator opens the show telling us:
“It’s dark. Your eyes are open, but you can’t see anything. You are at the theatre and yet you are already elsewhere. You are already a little bit different. You are going to live seven deaths. Without fear. Every death is amazing. Every death is the first. The deaths are like lives. No two are alike.”
The narrator is the only voice we hear throughout the performance. It is his voice that provides a backstory for each death that we will see. Aside from the narration, Cold Blood has a wonderful soundtrack which covers everything from Doris Day, Nina Simone, David Bowie, Janis Joplin to György Ligeti, Antonio Vivaldi and Franz Schubert.
You would think that a show which is about 7 deaths would be perhaps morbid and depressing but Cold Blood is anything but. The narrator explains early on that there are many different kinds of deaths such as premature deaths, sad deaths but that those that we would witness in this show were “stupid deaths”. And indeed the deaths that we see in Cold Blood are stupid – a man in his car who doesn’t heed the warning to wind his windows up as he goes through the car wash or another who chokes on a bra hook.
Cold Blood is a show like no other in that it brings together dancers who use only their hands performing in miniaturised sets with emotive lighting. Film technicians capture the hand choreography and project it onto a giant screen. The dance done only with fingers in Cold Blood was dubbed “nano dance” by creators Van Dormael and De Mey. They explain that “It is like a pop up film in which the camera films things which are too small to be seen by the naked eye and the eyes sees what the camera does not capture.”
There is no margin for error in Cold Blood. Cameras, lights and action are all required to be in synchronicity to produce the beautiful, moving show. Cameras film and project the action happening live on stage. The only thing that is pre-prepared here is the voice of the narrator. Given the whole premise of Cold Blood is choreographed fingers dancing, we are dealing with miniature actions zoomed in on and projected to the large screen.
You might think that in a production where there is activity on stage happening simultaneously as a screen projects the film being made from that activity that the audience may end up distracted by one or the other.
You may think that the audience would get distracted by the people moving around on stage but Cold Blood works so as to allow the audience to flit between the big screen projecting the action and watching the actual actors/dancers/cameramen creating that film.
One of the most spectacular scenes would be the kaleidoscope-like scene with fingers and hands creating beautiful mesmerising art. The dance scene which gives a nod to Fred and Ginger is also a highlight. Another very clever scene shows us a woman laying on a bench moving her arms about on stage but the camera shows us that woman dancing vertically outside a window being shot and rotated through the window of a dolls house like structure.
However, there are so many beautiful scenes that we could describe but that would give away too much of the show or even worse our words would fail to convey just how spectacular and special Cold Blood is. De Mey and Van Dormael have created a show like no other you are ever likely to see. Unfortunately the Adelaide Festival season of Cold Blood has now concluded but if you have the chance to see it anywhere in the world, we urge you to do so!
🥐🥐🥐🥐🥐 5 CROISSANTS
Matilda Marseillaise was a guest of Adelaide Festival
You can also read our other reviews:
If you’re interested in other Adelaide Festival shows, read our other interviews with the artists:
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