Reviewer: David Doyle
Dep is the Vietnamese word for beautiful. In this new dance piece from the Van Huynh Company, choreographer Dam Van Huynh explores influences from his Southeast Asian heritage, in particular Vietnamese culture around death in which death is also a form of rebirth. It’s a show that has immense promise and which began as a 10 minute piece in 2014. However this full length version never quite lives up to its potential.
The piece is painfully slow to begin. As the performers, standing naked, eyeball the audience for an extended period it seems to centre their nudity in a way that seems both unnecessary and confused. It’s just one of the many uneven aspects to the show. While there are some nice moments of choreography, particularly as the piece builds, as well as some interesting moments of sound and lighting design, there is an overall lack of cohesiveness to the piece.
There’s interesting thoughts buried in Van Huynh’s piece and the topics of rebirth and death are interesting ones to interrogate. At times too broad in its exploration, a closer parsing of Van Huhynh’s research might prove more fruitful. Some careful editing and an increased focus on a more stylised design could help the piece to find surer footing. In its current form, the piece doesn’t quite pack enough of a punch in its delve into exploring cultures reactions to death, and never quite has enough majesty to stand on its own. Ultimately the piece feels more uneven than anything else and doesn’t quite meet the possibility of its premise.
Runs until 18 August 2018 | Image: