Edmonds, compelled by the music, moves fluidly to centre stage stretching out his limbs, warming up to the movement about to boil out from him. His quirky, pulsating movements, jerking like he’s being tickled by an invisible hand, develop into an eloquent interpretive dance of uncontrollable joy. Adam’s lip-syncing draws our attention to the lyrics, “yes I get carried away in the breeze like a feather, it doesn’t matter, let it go, give me love, give me vertigo”. I discover that this artist, Kate Miller-Heidke, inspired the title for this show. Edmond continues to reference her work throughout the entire show with his beautifully controlled movement and intense charisma.
Mid-song, a very similar, slightly hairier, bloke appears on the television behind him and seems to be dancing along to the same song. When the music finishes the guy in the TV praises Adam for the perfect performance. The crux of the show is revealed; how on earth is the physical Adam is going to get the virtual Adam out of the TV? This is just the first of many questions raised during the show, and the only question that really gets answered.
We are given very little time to question the complexity and unrealistic parameters of this world, full of magic tricks and real-virtual relationships. Oohs and aahs come from the audience as we are enchanted by a remote that is dropped from above the TV and lands perfectly into the hands of virtual Adam. The audience buys into the strange relationship between Adam’s two selves as we are compelled by the reversal of control now coming from inside the television. While we know that the connection between the two realms is unconventional, we are too entertained to care and promptly distracted by Adam breaking into dance as, “Can’t Shake It” takes over the room. We quickly accept O Vertigo focuses on a passionate expression of contemporary dance and have little regard for the absurd plot.
Edmonds movement is beautifully lyrical, expressing an array of emotions through gravity defying dance that at times resembles a terrifying roller coaster ride. Punches to his chest and backwards flips over the bed have me holding my breath as I anticipate which direction his body will be propelled to next. Just when the virtual Adam escapes from the cell of the television, the two beings fight to become a tangled merge of the physical body and one’s inner self. He grasps at the furniture, the walls and himself for control as the space transforms into a chaotic technicolour world. An exasperated gasp pleads for him to “get out” of himself, reminding me of Jim Carrey’s The Mask, while Adam’s physical strain has us convinced he is being pulled back towards the television by a magnetic force. Miller-Heidke’s lyrics, “the tide is turning”, mirrors Adam’s world as the stage appears to turn upside down. Edmond throws himself around the stage, defying gravity in leaps and bounds. I am amazed at the level of energy, aggression and conviction in his body all the while being incredibly graceful and light on his feet.
After the show finishes too quickly, as there were more questions that needed answering. Was that a show about the fight between two versions of one’s self? Between a dream world and reality? Or was it a representation of the struggle with finding balance in a world run by technology? But the more I pondered it, the less answers I needed. Maybe Edmonds just wanted to create really cool, absurd dance theatre to a wicked soundtrack. And maybe, in fact, all humans do just exist in a purposeless chaotic universe.
O Vertigo is currently showing at BATS Theatre until Saturday 10 February. To experience a raw, fresh take on dance theatre, you can find tickets here.