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Arts Festival Review: Happy as Larry (2)

Arts Festival Review: Happy as Larry

Review by Katie MacKinnon

Happy as Larry
Shaun Parker and Company (Australia)
7 – 10 March
TSB Bank Arena


Is anybody ever as Happy as Larry? This dynamic dance work from Shaun Parker and Company is out to explore and hopefully answer the question.

Commissioned for the Perth Arts Fest, Larry is inspired by the Ennegram model, a psychological system that maps nine personality types. Parker has been working and researching this for many years and his dedication to the project comes through in the depth of the performance.

Each performer has their own story, their own personality. It comes through in the movement and in the drama. The popping and locking along with the ballet and contemporary dance combine to form raw, iconic vignettes – a lone girl moving with such staccato, or a roller-skater needing to learn. Each vignette blends together in a dreamlike melting of scenes and space with the turning of an oversize blackboard.

With the bright costumes and props reminiscent of childhood or Sesame Street, the merriment was not as you would expect; instead, a solemn yet engaging look at happiness and our drive to capture it. Delivered with raw energy and aptitude, Happy as Larry might not answer the question of How To Be Happy but it definitely gives insights into the rituals and relationships we rely on to get there.

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See also: Jack Gray - Arts Festival Review: Happy as Larry

Press Release: New Dance Programme Defies Borders
Arts Festival website: Happy As Larry - New Zealand International Arts Festival
Scoop Full Coverage: Arts Festival 2010

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