Tag: Darren Vizer

REVIEW: Devize Co Presents PLUNGE

It begins with a single touch…

By Myron My

Having seen Plunge when it was in its early stages of development last year during La Mama’s Explorations season (then known as Blending), I was very interested to see how the work had progressed. Being performed at the 2015 Melbourne Fringe, the work explores the infinite number of outcomes that can result from a single touch. Some are good and some are bad and some are absolutely crushing.


Choreographer and director Darren Vizer continues to push his two performers, dancer Joel Fenton and actor Jean Goodwin, to their extremes relentlessly. They share a good chemistry and have clearly worked hard at driving through the more challenging moments of Plunge and allowing the piece to evolve.

Fenton’s dance sequences clearly demonstrate how his body has been taken over by his emotional state and he uses the whole space to bound, leap, and throw himself around the stage. The music and sounds used to further convey these feelings are well chosen, especially the rapid beating of the heart in the second story.

Goodwin’s monologue on loving and owning her body is a powerful statement about the constant threat women face just for being women. Her command of the statements she makes and the pace with which they are delivered are full of angry confidence. She wants to be heard and she wants to make sure we hear her. It’s a speech that should resonate with each and every single woman out there as well as to every single man who has female family members, friends or partners.

What drew me to Plunge initially was the challenge of having a performer, who is predominately a dancer, acting – and vice versa. This idea has been further developed, especially with providing Goodwin a solo dance moment. However, while her commitment to the piece is evident, I ultimately had difficulty understanding the purpose of what was trying to be conveyed by this inclusion. Similarly, I would have liked to see Fenton be slightly more aggressive in the final story to really drive home Goodwin’s response.

Plunge took on its new name as the performers were no longer blending their two art forms but immersing themselves in it. Similarly, one could also say that it’s about what happens when we take the plunge into romance without quite knowing what the outcome will be. Despite its minor shortcomings, this is still a highly intelligent and insightful piece not only exploring relationships, but also the way the society in which we live operates.

Venue: Fringe Hub, Arts House, 521 Queensberry St, North Melbourne, 3051

Season: Until 24 September | Tues-Sat 10.30pm, Sun 9.30pm

Tickets:$25 Full | $15 Conc, Cheap Tuesday

Bookings: Melbourne Fringe Festival


New work comes together skillfully

By Myron My

Created by Darren Vizer, Blending is an intricate exploration of relationships, sex, bullying and love. Using one dancer (Joel Fenton) and one actor (Jean Goodwin), Vizer combines the two art forms to create an evocative piece of work where each of the three scenarios explored begin similarly but end in very different places.


The deliveries of dialogue from Goodwin in the first and third scenario are particularly powerful and not only demand our attention but leave us feeling very strong but contrary emotions. However, in the second scenario the writing needed refinement as it verged on repetition and began losing its impact on the audience.

The play with silence during Blending was welcoming and fresh, as there can often a fear of this from both performers and audience members. The opening moments show Goodwin reading a book and Fenton watching her from afar, giving us the opportunity to come up with our own idea of what is happening and what is going to happen and thus invest more in the people we are seeing.

I thoroughly enjoy watching theatre and dance come together as they are able to create a stronger emotive experience for the audience that could otherwise not be achieved. By overtly putting himself out of his dancer’s comfort zone, Fenton’s vulnerability and feelings comes to the surface through his acting in a more effective and honest way. As Blending develops, it will be great to see Goodwin also being pushed more profoundly out of her role as actor and into the realm of dance to be able to express the same breadth of emotions, particularly in the third scenario.

With Blending, Vizer explores three very different relationships that while making significant impact do not leave you overwhelmed with a confused myriad of emotion. It is a complex experience that could be quite jarring for the audience were it not for its skillful creator and performers.

Blending was performed at La Mama as part of its 2014 Explorations season, which supports new works in various stages of development.