Bringing back the 80’s spark

Games without frontiers – HKU Acteursopleiding

REVIEW by ILONA DE JONG

Why should it be dark inside theatres? The shiny decor of Games without frontiers is made of sparkling white plastic, just as sparkly as the actors and the entire performance. Big white balloons hang from the ceiling, while a birthday cake starts dancing around on the table, and the seven performers from the HKU do a hilarious disco dance with disco balls on their heads – The party is almost complete.

The songs and sounds from the eighties were the starting point for this performance. Along with 80s favorites such as the rubixcube, a cassette tape, a Super Mario puppet dancing like Michael Jackson, they make you feel you’ve travelled back in time without being too retro. The only text is the lyrics of classic songs from the eighties, and the great vocals of the performers (note: actors) add to the enthousiastic party feeling. I did not miss spoken words for a second. Even though the solo’s at times were a bit karaoke-ish, when the performers sing together in a group they simply sound amazing.

The strength of this performance is found in the beautiful visuals, created by various funny props and energetic motion theatre. For instance when the five female performers do tightly choreographed group movements, by dancing with – and on – the chairs and table. These sequences are not just beautiful, but also hilarious. As the table is being abused for yet another dance – this time with comical monster masks – two of the monsters get into a fight over the dance moves.

‘We are all living in a mad world’  and ‘We’re going on the road to nowhere,’ they sing at the end, standing side by side, while wearing black shirts with the now iconic white X of the Mars der Beschaving. After the previous, hilarious, feelgood scenes Games without frontiers ends on a sarcastic note with these last couple of songs. But based on what they showed in this inspiring graduating piece, these seven performers deserve a shining career.

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