Review by Charlotte Craig
50 min | Theatrical Dance, Clown | R
What’s the only thing worse than a dancer who isn’t funny and a comedian who can’t dance? Why, a performance that combines them both, of course! Aerial Allusions is a “performance art” piece about … I’m not sure what. It is poorly acted, badly sang, shakily danced, and unfortunately just not funny or otherwise engaging.
The monologue that opens Aerial Allusions, performed by comedian Jason Morneau, reads like the sort of musings that come out of an Introduction to Philosophy class. During Morneau’s less-than-riveting monologue, dancer Azana Pilar performs what appears to be an attempt at burlesque (which would be exponentially more entertaining if it contained actual nudity).
Pilar shows off her dancing skills best when Morneau is out of scene, but the whole piece is overflowing with seemingly pointless twirling, flailing and flopping. The best choreography was in the form of a couple of fight scenes, which appeared (thankfully) well-rehearsed. Otherwise, with the stage-fighting, tugging and tumbling, I wasn’t convinced this would be an injury-free show. It was not clear which stumbles were intentional or unintentional.
Halfway through the performance, it improved. I think because that is when Pilar and Morneau begin making asses of themselves on purpose. I suppose that’s the “clown” part of the show. The performance probably would have been better received if it were held in a licensed venue.
The laughter from the audience (when there was any) seemed painfully forced and pitiful, and the man sitting next to me spent the last half of the show with his head in his hands. Morneau also broke the fourth wall, and his character, during an awkward disrobing.
As a dance piece, Aerial Allusions is underwhelming. As theatre it is almost nonexistent, and as for performance art … shouldn’t there be some sort of message for the audience to take from it? The show posits itself as a “journey looking into the perspective of humanity through feminine and masculine viewpoints,” but it failed at reflecting any of that. I found myself wishing someone from the crowd would shout out some answers to their silly philosophical questions. I was also disappointed that there was no high-wire.
Ultimately, Aerial Allusions asks a lot of interesting questions without trying to answer them, while the only one it inspires in return is, “What was that?” The conclusion I’ve come to is that this dancer-comedian duo should not quit their day jobs and reconsider sticking to their respective solo careers. They just don’t have the on-stage chemistry to work together.
Aerial Allusions by Azana Pilar is playing at the Arts Court Library (2 Daly Avenue, Elevator A) on Saturday, June 16 at 6:00pm; Sunday June 17 at 4:30pm; Monday, June 18 at 10:00pm; Tuesday, June 19 at 5:30pm; and Sunday, June 24 at 1:30pm. Tickets are $10.