What? Sixty people on stage? Thirty bodies in close-knit, full-pelt, intimate, sweaty co-operation; another thirty faces with wide open mouths singing their lungs out? This exhilarating spectacle is the stuff of lockdown dreams: a massive embodiment of our primal hunger for community and physical touch. Audience, acrobat and choir fuse into a single organism for a moment in time.
Gravity & Other Myths, the home-grown acrobatic company that conquered the world, brings together all three of its core ensembles plus a choir of 30 voices from Young Adelaide Voices, with singers from Aurora and senior members of First Concert Choir.
At the throbbing heart of The Pulse is the beauty of endless renewal, depicted as bodies and voices unite, retreat and reconnect in a monumental display of synchronicity and skill.
Aurora, directed by Christie Anderson, is the senior vocal ensemble of the South Australian youth choir Young Adelaide Voices. The choir is no stranger to boundary-pushing works, with a diverse performance record that includes former Adelaide Festival productions, sharing the stage with the Rolling Stones and appearing as guest artists at the Desert Song Festival in Alice Springs. Aurora’s commitment to performing contemporary Australian music means they’re a perfect match for The Pulse.
This all-Australian production marries brute strength with intricate choreography and singing that at times elevates the work to the sublime. The solo and group sequences, at times wild and loose, at other times restrained and tightly controlled, sometimes evoke a sense of ritual.
It’s nail-biting stuff delivered with elegance and it’s a joy to experience.
And above it all conductor Christie Anderson marshals her choir as they prompt and then heighten the action over a woozy rumbling bass until she takes leave from them, her wordless vocals soaring higher than anyone else on stage. Anderson’s beatific voice gives weight to the most dramatic passages of action, the melismatic phrasing freed of any meaning but the desire to reach higher, ever higher.
Because more than anything else ‘The Pulse’ is a soaring tribute to ambition and resilience, an apt way to start the year for an Adelaide audience fortunate enough to enjoy the performance in person.
The Pulse features a cast of 30 acrobats whose physical prowess is matched live on stage by the vocal dexterity of Aurora, the 25-strong senior vocal ensemble of the choir, Young Adelaide Voices.
With circus performers clad in white and off-white, and the choristers in black, a simple, striking duality is created on stage, with bodies herded, gathered and fluidly choreographed to create a sense of opposition and division, of coming together and communal exchange. Performers circle and pace, flow together and sweep apart, sometimes standing alone before being caught up again in the whole, all the while accompanied by the choir’s commentary and song.
Adelaide Festival Review By Anita Kertes
Interwoven amongst all the physicality was the Aurora Vocal Ensemble. Not just relegated to the back or side of the stage, they were embedded within the action all the while providing a complementary soundtrack. Their inclusion evoked sentiment and brought equilibrium to an, at times, chaotic atmosphere while elevating the overall production.
The Pulse consolidates strength, precision, choreography, friendship, humour, and music in the ultimate test of trust. It is disciplined in its construction and mesmerizingly transcendent in its delivery. The Pulse is an edge of your seat performance well deserving of the standing ovation it received.