Awakening - Come Alive: LAMTA review AWAKENING – COME ALIVE. LAMTA students – 90 minute end of year musical theatre display. Directors Anton Luitingh and Duane Alexander.  Theatre on the Bay.

SHEILA CHISHOLM reviews final performance.

Historians will probably record 2020 as the year when ‘The World Turned Upside Down’ and every single earthling experienced  hardship –  from Covid-19’s Planet Earth invasion. Apart from knowing older folk suffered badly, we are also aware that continuing to educate the young has proved a sore trial.

As for businesses, industries, theatres … who knows how many shut their doors, lowered FoH curtains sending countless into a terrifying jobless, ‘Mad World’.  One natural reaction would be to curl into a ball (‘All By Myself’) and sleep until scientists discovered a  vaccine (not practical). Another – more sensible – would be to mask up, sanitize hands, keep a 1.5m social distance  (‘Don’t Stand Too Close’) and find a way to continue working and  studying while living joyfully.

Much easier said than done (‘Heavy’). Especially when it comes to dance and drama.

It’s true certain exercises can take place in a 2 x 2m kitchen.  However, when it comes to dramatic interaction, grande allegro and pas de deux, trainees require space and a togetherness (‘If The World Was Ending’), not necessarily requirements for voice or instrumental learning.

Awakening - Come Alive: LAMTA review

Flowing seamlessly from one item to the next

So heartiest congratulations to LAMTA’s co-directors Anton Luitingh, Duane Alexander and their faculty, for leading a triple threat teaching technique which combined safety measures with physical training (‘Get Up Offa That Thing’). Congratulations too to their lively 42 performers, a combination of first, second and graduates for this lively display aptly titled  Awakening – Come Alive.

Alexander and Luitingh’s concept presented 18 short dances. Flowing seamlessly from one item into the next they built their Covid-19 story line from despair to a happy return to life before Wuhan and the WHO’s pandemic deceleration.

Including Luitingh and Alexander, Hope Maimane, Figure of 8 Dance Collective and Ashley Searle, choreographed individual pieces with each working within and around different  aspects that fitted  their piece into life under Coronavirus.  Each choreographer successfully matched movement to song, with Niall Griffin’s sound design hitting perfect pitch.

Costumed in plain/sexy black, white numbers, grey see-through mini-bits and a clever hat and glove UV scene (a complete blackout next time please), these linked artistically into Faheem Bardien’s imaginative lighting plot and varied musical arrangements of popular songs.

Awakening - Come Alive: LAMTA review

Well trained triple threat performers

Choreographers sometimes worked around the full company. Other groups were all female or all male.

On one occasion an electric guitar trio entertained (‘Imagine’) and Michiel Bester, Stuart Brown, Robert Everson, Che-jean Jupp and Michael Stray performed to the ‘Sound of Silence’.

Danced against a white framed boxed stage with an oblong video frame matching moving scenes to dance movements, these well disciplined triple threat students skipped, hopped, leapt, jumped, tossed girls upside down and performed all manner of tricks showcasing their unbounded energy.

When theatres reopen, LAMTA can provide a host of enthusiastic, well trained triple threat performers ready for a theatrical career.

What: Awakening – Come Alive

Where: Theatre on the Bay

WS