Three: Tap Into Topology
Topology With Grant Collins and Bill Simpson
Brisbane Powerhouse Visy Theatre
December 11 – 14 2013
Reviewed by Meredith Walker
In Three: Tap Into Topology, Topology works with rhythmic genius/drum-kit soloist, Grant Collins and tap-dance wizard Bill Simpson to create bold new territory in both music and dance.
Grant pushes all the artists to the edge of rhythmic possibility, never compromising groove, and Bill dances on the precipice, creating new space with his body and resounding shoes.
Three features new original compositions for drums and tap, and Topology’s saxophone, strings and piano.
It’s a fearsomely energetic performance that brings together ideas and inventions from 3 distinct genres to generate something both unfamiliar and intoxicating.
The Visy Theatre stage is stripped back and bare apart from a range of instruments… piano, drum kit, double bass… collectively hinting at the musical array to follow. For that is what Three: Tap Into Topology is about, the merging of discrete genres in exploration of the fluidity of stylistic definitions. And the result is something surprisingly wonderful.
As Brisbane Powerhouse Artists-in-Residence, Topology’s eminence should be of no surprise to Brisbane audiences. Indeed, the group is known for the breadth and depth of its collaborations; the quintet, comprised of strings, saxophone and piano, has created impressive original work over its many years with collaborators such as Geoffrey Rush, Queensland Ballet, Kate Miller-Heidke, Katie Noonan, the Kransky Sisters, to name but a few.
In Three, Topology has come together with drum soloist (and rhythmic genius) Grant Collins and tap-dance master Bill Simpson to create a bold new show that combines music and dance in presentation of both exciting original compositions, such as the memorable Gavin’s Stomach by Bernard Hoey.
The show begins delicately, with the strings adding a haunting quality to early pieces. Before long, the onslaught, as Robert Davidson deems it, begins and Grant Collins shows his stuff with innovative and enthralling drum set compositions, impressively, at one stage, using all four limbs both individually and collectively to match the different time beats of the other instruments. This man’s skill is amazing. But, this performance is made all that more engaging by his charming audience interaction and his obvious passion. And it is wonderful to see some younger audience members playing air drums along with him.
Collins defies stereotypical drum set methodologies, which brings out the full potential of five musicians. This is particularly seen in the re-imagining of Carl Vine’s Piano Conerto No. 1 to include drum collaboration. Indeed, collaboration is the feature of all of the Three numbers. And the show also features Queensland tap-dance wizard Bill Simpson, Artistic Director and choreographer for Red Hot Rhythm, a Gold Coast/Brisbane based dance company. Simpson is a skilled dancer of poise and power, and the synchronicity of his moves with the music swelling in accompaniment is impressive.
As Grant Collins remarked, this is not your Triple M type of music, which is a good thing, as some music has to be seen and not just heard. Three is a show that is everything a show should be: exciting, contemporary, innovative, intelligent and brilliantly achieved. And, as I overheard a departing patron reflect, “It is always good to experience different things.”
Topology’s John Babbage composed the music for Dead Puppet Society’s ARGUS and we have 28 days left to help them reach their pozible.com goal ($1 500) to take ARGUS to IPAY in the USA!
A $50 pledge will reward you with a limited edition print of one of the design sketches for the show AND an original song from ARGUS composed by John Babbage and performed by Topology + an ARGUS badge from the original season. Awesome!