nytheatre.com review by Jason S. Grossman
June 8, 2011
Planet Connections Theatre Festivity tallies another wonderful work with the Movement Workshop Group's new dance theatre piece Wanderlust. This is the final in a series of four full-length works each inspired by a classical element (fire). After seeing this production, I wish I had seen the first three pieces and pray they will be remounted at some point.
The Movement Workshop Group's mission is to create dance theatre works that transport both the artists and audience to a higher spiritual state. They succeed here; this is a wholly enjoyable and uplifting theatre program.
The text was co-written by Leslie Guyton and Colin Summers (coming in the form of monologues), and the production as a whole was created collaboratively by Guyton (artistic director), Pauline Legras, and the Movement Workshop Group. The end result is an inspiring, highly entertaining piece executed by outstanding artists.
The minimalist plot concerns a protagonist, Character A, and the relationships throughout her life. While she never utters a word, we feel our heroine's joy and heartbreak with every step while she navigates her way through the universe.
A rock band provides the musical backdrop (and, yes, they do rock) as five exceptional actor/dancers perform numerous dance segments. Actor/dancer is an appropriate designation in this production because of the great depth of their acting as they dance.
Colin Summers, playing a casual narrator of sorts, introduces the evening with a monologue to set the context of the program. Summers displays versatility playing lead guitar and singing with the superb Cydney McQullian-Grace. As Cosmo, McQullian-Grace exhibits an outstanding singing voice throughout the work worthy of her character.
From above numerous light bulbs are magically ignited with Cosmo's influence thanks to the expert lighting design by Erik Fox.
Rachel Garis plays Character A, and she is absolutely terrific. She is playful, curious, and tender as the wide-eyed soul in Wanderlust. Her entire body is a beautifully communicative instrument at every instant. Equally captivating is Alex Hernandez who plays her male counterpart. They exude sweet harmony together.
Chris Coluzzi, Josh Henderson, Thomas Murphy, and Angelica Olstad round out the band skillfully. Henderson plays his violin like his dancer co-stars use their bodies, with seemingly effortless passion.
All the artists are in sync here.
Much of the music is original with compositions written by company member Murphy and other local musicians. There are also some well-known songs revamped notably for the purposes of the production.
This show is a beautiful program told with dance, music and text about temptation and desire but mostly about forgiveness and love. You can see the love in the content of the production and in the expression of the artists’ work.