Pretty Little Instincts: Naturally Elegant

Pretty Little Instincts

Victoria: If you’re looking for an elegant night out at this year’s Fringe, here it is. The Point Ellice Heritage House tea garden sets the stage, complete with wicker seating, blankets, tea cozy hats and tea and cookies. If you can brave the biting cold and the 30-minute walk (or five-minute drive) from the central downtown Fringe area, go.

Snafu Dance Theatre’s performance is a true winner, luxuriously mixing the natural ambiance with the movement of high society ghosts. For the full hour, it’s hard to take your eyes off of the dancers as they perform a haunting work that destructs the folly of conformity in a rigid society. With black flowing dresses and chalk white make-up, the dancers strike emotion after emotion. What starts out as a comedic battle to pour tea for the rest of the dainty not-havin’-it dancers (surely never a situation Pt. Ellice House workers can relate with) tumbles quickly into a collage of the horrendous inner turmoil of having to look and act a certain way in front of others. The choreography utilizes the open space to create depth-of-field human landscapes that are picturesque.

Though at times repetitive—10 minutes could be trimmed—the claustrophobia created in this show sucks you in and keeps you there. But, being open on the water, distractions like the VIA Rail train’s horn, police sirens and bizarre seabird honks bite at the attention of the audience. Some were visibly torn away from the show, while others saw it as an opportunity to focus more intently.

While the lighting at times was inconsistent with the performance and lit the audience blaringly from behind, the climax hits you right in your empathy spot. The cheeky and freeing denouement (yes, tasteful partial nudity here) tugs at your heart and lifts you up. The crew at Snafu make Pretty Little Instincts a show I instinctually love.

For information on showtimes go here.

By James Roxby