The physical theatrics of Don Gnu are on display at the festival this year with their show, “Walk-Man”.
The four-man dance group aims to point to the absurdities of the mundane aspects of life, more specifically, how we get ourselves from A to B. This intense performance features the group as ordinary people who are supposed to be walking through a city, simply going about their day. But as the tediousness of this begins to grow, it warps their actions, to the point that they no longer conform to the societal standards in public places.
“Walk-Man” is a well-produced piece of physical theatre, with elements of comedy layered in the performance. The sound and lighting suit the tone of the show and the performers are able to hit their mark, especially when it really counts during some nervy acrobatic displays. The physical elements complement the comedic side of the show, as there are some displays where slip ups are not an option. Especially during the opening of the show, where one of the beams they use is given the task of protecting one dancer’s modesty, a mighty challenge given that it’s an early afternoon show.
However, the performance sometimes feels as though there is a pressure to be funny, meaning that there are elements that feel slightly forced or overdone. There are parts designed to get a laugh, which they do, but then it keeps going for far too long, by which point the laughs have begun to dissipate.
Despite this, “Walk-Man” is still a captivating show, which is performed to a high standard. There are some laughs, some amazing physical displays and it is all wrapped up with a very fitting soundtrack. This show could have you questioning how you conform to societal standards, but perhaps you shouldn’t break rank the way that Don Gnu advocates for, you might break something.
Walk-Man, 12:15, ZOO Southside, August 17-28 (excluding August 21).