"Repercussion" Review- Boomerang Dance and Performance Project at Steppenwoolf's 1700 Theatre

Boomerang Dance and Performance Project’s  “Repercussion” show at Steppenwolf’s “Front” bar backroom venue, the 1700 Theatre, 1700 W. Halsted, was presented Saturday night, October 29th, to a sold-out crowd; they gave another performance the following day. It was original and fun if somewhat obscure and inexplicable.

Matty Davis and Adrian Galvin with Greg Saunier at drums

 Two dancers, Matty Davis and Adrian Galvin, along with Greg Saunier, drummer of the rock group “Deerhoof”,  shoved and pushed each other and writhed and entwined athletically on the stage, often clutching at, banging or tapping upon, or cuddling inexplicably up to the large snare drum and cymbal, taken apart from the drum set and wielded by them all. In-between, Saunier sat  at and played the drums loudly- while they were mounted for his use-sometimes with one drumstick between his teeth. There is no melody produced or accompanied. Towards the end of the performance, Galvin, stretched out on the floor, keens an atonal poem by Lewis Hyde in a high childish voice; later still, he repeats it. This repetition is endemic to the work.

Matty Davis and Adrian Galvin with Greg Saunier in background

It was extremely difficult to see the stage, even for this reviewer, who sat in “press-reserved” seating in the second row. It’s probable that it may have been well nigh impossible for any viewer to see the floor of any stage anywhere unless all seats were in a front row, since much of the action took place flat out on the ground.

This was a performance that was very different and exhilarating in its new feel, but it was also exhausting, and not just for the performers who panted obviously with exhaustion, drenched in perspiration. This was a pas de brawl, a strange brew of pushing, flailing, flopping about and grappling, and even at a spare 50 minutes, it was hard to stay intrigued.

Greg Saunier, Matty Davis and Adrian Galvin

The trained dancers certainly executed some intriguing movements. There were some amazing duet lifts by Davis- at one point Galvin, held in front, hangs on to Davis for a very long time with his legs wrapped behind him. There were also some truly astonishing leaps and turns by both near the end of the piece, with outflung arms- lovely graceful lunges. And the sequences- and there were many- when both men executed flat-out floor moves reminiscent of high-wire performers were impressive. So was the emotion between the prinicpals;  when they weren’t smacking each other’s hands and feet away, or slapping themselves, they exhibited a touching tenderness. The choreography by Kora Radella was strong and inventive.  All in all, the piece was intriguing and probably inspired, but seemed like it struggled for "the rhyme"; what did it all mean? That's probably an outdated concept...

Matty Davis and Adrian Galvin in foreground with Greg Saunier at drums


For information on other great shows at Steppenwolf, go to the Steppenwolf website



All photos courtesy of Mark Davis

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