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Review: Night and Mortar is a delightful piece of dance theatre

Night and Mortar is a piece of dance theatre created and performed by Sharvon Mortimer and Oli Mathieson. What’s unusual and special about the show is that it’s being put on at a series of local bars in Auckland. Opening night saw it at Cupid Bar, a very cool and friendly venue in Pt Chevalier.

The work begins with the Mortimer and Mathiesen facing one another in a tight embrace. They are dressed in identical outfits – black shoes, tan pants, beige singlets, and black dinner jackets worn the wrong way round like a straight jacket. 

There is no music as they begin to move together, still in a tight embrace. Over the span of about 25 minutes, they present a number of tightly choreographed pieces, some with music, others with sound effects. It’s all designed to mimic and spoof, and also honour the world of film noir. Indeed the entire performance has an almost vaudevillian sensibility to it. The work is filled with a thrilling mixture of tension, slapstick, humour, and even romance. But underpinning it is a sense of unease, perhaps even addiction, compulsion and violence. It is a wonderful combination. 

There are many great moments in Night and Mortar but the one that got the most reaction and appreciation from the audience was a fantastically choreographed and stylised fight scene which was accompanied by foley sounds of slaps and punches. It was brilliantly done, incredibly funny, and perfectly timed.  

Mortimer and Mathiesen have an obvious chemistry and trust in one another. They move in perfect harmony and are able to change style and pace with an adroitness that is magical to watch. 

All up, Night and Mortar is an absolute delight but it’s only being performed for a few days this week. I hope it comes back again, but in case it doesn’t, I suggest you rush out to one of the bars its on at, grab a drink and enjoy a whimsical and unique performance.  

NIGHT AND MORTAR

13 – 17 December 2022

Various venues

FREE ENTRY

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