Six Dance Lessons in Six WeeksSix Dance Lessons in Six Weeks was conceived when author Richard Alfieri happened upon a dance competition taking place in the ballroom of a grand old hotel on St. Petersburg Beach in Florida. What he was to see, a room full of older women partnered with much younger men, intrigued him enough to explore and artistically recreate his interpretation of one of these relationships.

Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks was an easy show to sit down and enjoy, which I would attribute to the script, homely set design and abilities of the actors. Comfortable is the word that springs to mind, with no awkward moments where you felt the show may fail.

McKenney and Hayes were relaxed and quite obviously enjoying themselves in this production, which flows through to the audience. Interestingly, McKenney ranks the experience in his top two favourite shows alongside The Boy From Oz, what would seem a big call indeed.

The set design of the condo in Florida is the tacky stereotype we would expect it to be, an abundance of cane furniture, potted plants and gaudy wallpaper. For this it is successful, and works well to recreate an authentic abode for an ageing, upper class American widow. The character development is one of the strengths of the play. Hayes and McKenney successfully transport Lily and Michael from two-dimensional characters to complex and edgy personalities that we are interested in watching.

To his credit, writer Alfieri has produced a witty and tight script which doesn’t need much more than a couple of accomplished actors and one relatively simple set. The context of the subject matter and location were easily understood. This made the use of accents unnecessary, which served only to detract from the performance.

Given the impressive CV of choreographer John O’Connell, creating the moves for films such as Strictly Ballroom, Romeo and Juliet, Moulin Rouge and Muriel’s Wedding among many other box office and TV hits, it was surprising, and slightly disappointing, that the dancing ‘pizzazz’ wasn’t taken to greater heights.  

Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks uses dance lessons as a metaphor for the life lessons the characters learn from one another. With many of the ingredients an audience would look for in an artistic piece, relevant themes, interesting characters, humour and moments of heart, it will delight most.

Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks
by Richard Alfieri

Venue: Her Majesty's Theatre |  58 Grote Street, Adelaide
Dates: 10 Oct 2007 - 27 Oct 2007
Tickets: $22 - $55

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