Brisbane Festival: Natalie Weir’s When Time Stops


When Time Stops

Brisbane Festival & EDC

QPAC Playhouse

6 September – 14 September 2013


Reviewed by Meredith Walker


The moment a single decision hurtles you into unknown territory…
The moment the water rises…
The moment you choose to stay or go…
The moment that stops time…


From award-winning Australian choreographer, Natalie Weir (where the heart is and R&J), and Expressions Dance Company comes the highly anticipated When Time Stops, an original dance work exploring the simplicity of life-changing moments, whose world premiere is featured as part of the Brisbane Festival.


When Time Stops Image by Dylan Evans


When Time Stops is a performance of poignant moments of melancholy, silence and control, from the ticking of a clock to the rhythm of rowing with invisible oars. Its movement is a celebration of the luxurious, rhythmic qualities of gesture within dance.


It’s an intensely dramatic production, in the way it takes the audience on a voyage of a woman’s last moments of life. Yet, it is Thomas Gundry Greenfield as the ferryman transporting souls safely across the sea, whose presence dominates due to his austere focus and discipline. Elise May too, conveys a controlled contrast of strength and fragility that enhances the tension of a cardiac scene. The ethereal imagery on stage is complemented by an original score by Helpmann Award winner Iain Grandage, played live on stage by members of Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra, Camerata of St John’s.


When Time Stops Image by Dylan Evans


Certainly, this is an ambitious work. In many scenes, the stage is a busy space, as the possibilities of a larger ensemble (not to mention twelve musicians) are explored. The stage and lighting design is enchanting, making use of mirrored surfaces, harsh lighting and alluring shadows. This typifies the juxtapositions at the show’s core, as placid images of rhythmic rowing offer tranquil divergence to its moments of trauma.

Natalie Weir is a creative force whose intuitive aesthetic appreciation is evident through suggested narrative and the exploration of ideas through movement and melody.


In When Time Stops, she has created dance of such intensity that it forces the viewer into the experience, regardless of what their individual interpretation might be. For, as is noted in the show’s program, the content is whatever the audience brings to it. But regardless of whether or not audience appreciation aligns with the artist’s intent, When Time Stops elicits a profound emotional resonance, made all the more hypnotic by the perfection of its performances.


When Time Stops Images by Dylan Evans


Must close September 14th



1 Response to “Brisbane Festival: Natalie Weir’s When Time Stops”

  1. 1 Jenni Peart
    September 17, 2013 at 8:19 am

    Mesmerising ! Dance and Music made perfect.

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