After attending the Adelaide opening night of SDS1, my soccer fanatic and coach son turned to me and made three very apt statements: that the show was incredible; that it was a soccer training session set to music; and that it was “Beckham meets So You Think You Can Dance. SDS1 is all that and more! The only inaccuracy with his last statement is that performance artist and ex-professional soccer player, Ahilan Ratnamohan, doesn’t just ‘think’ he can dance, he CAN!
The publicity for this show states that it is football (the ‘real’ football – soccer) as theatre. It could just as accurately be described as theatre as soccer. The entire 55 mins (which coincidentally(?) is the same length as a Juniors’ training session) is a cleverly abstracted or – to use a trendy modern cooking term – ‘deconstructed’ soccer training session and match.
Ratnamohan, through the medium of contemporary dance, gives us all the elements involved in the ‘beautiful game’: warm-ups; cool down rest breaks whilst sitting with us; intimidation of the opposition (symbolised by the audience); a one person soccer match; incredible ball controlling skills, both with feet and head; and shooting for goal. There is even a stylised championship winners’ parade, hilariously involving the audience.
Not only do Ratnamohan’s soccer skills impress, but his contemporary dance and performance skills are equally impressive.
Set on a simple but appropriate mini soccer pitch, with strip UV lighting at each corner of the rectangle, using the audience as the boundary lines; and with beautifully evocative music and soundscapes by Scott Smallwood and DJ Mutamassik, SDS1 is exhilarating, exhausting and enthralling.
Not just for aficionados of contemporary dance and modern theatre, this amazing work should be seen by all youngsters interested in playing soccer.
It’s a GOAL!!! for SDS1.
Reviewed by Brian Godfrey
Venue: Waterside 11 Nile Street, Port Adelaide
Season: 26 – 29 August 2015
Duration: 55 mins
Tickets: $25 full, $20 concession, $15 TREv
Bookings: Trybooking website