The Dance House
Kidd Pivot - Assembly Hall

When & Where October 25 to October 28, 2023 | Vancouver Playhouse, 600 Hamilton Street Choreographer / Director Crystal Pite Writer/ Director Jonathon Young Composition and Sound Designer Owen Belton, Alessandro Juliani and Meg Roe Scenic Designer Jay Gower Taylor Costume Designer Nancy Bryant Lighting Designer Tom Visser

Reviewer Nancie Ottem

A knight in shining armour, a damsel in distress, a dated school auditorium, a stage within a stage, all conspire to give a sense of time floating through time with the vissisitudes of the human condition a thread that binds the story in Assembly Hall.

The world premiere of Assembly Hall opened at the Vancouver Playhouse on October 26th. It follows an innovative trend in the team of Crystal Pite’s and Jonathon Young’s work that was manifest in the ground breaking Revisor which premiered in 2019 at the Vancouver Playhouse.

Part of Kidd Pivot’s success is due to the consistency of the design team. Owen Belton, Alessandro Juliani, Meg Roe, Jay Gower Taylor, Nancy Bryant and Tom Visser all worked on Revisor. They have come together again to help in the creation of another mesmerizing experience for the theatre/dance audience. The lighting in Assembly Hall is masterful, creating a partnership with the dancers that enhances their movements and gave drama to the story.

There is humour in Assembly Hall, there is sadness and loss and insecurities felt that touch the audience. For the 80 minute program the audience was held in rapt attention following the story of a board meeting called to order to solve the problems of the re-enactment of a medieval battle called Quest Fest.

The choreography is distinctive with arm movements that mimic sound and performers who move their bodies to dialogue with perfect timing and expression of mood. The eight performers, Brandon Alley, Livona Ellis, Rakeem Hardy, Gregory Lau, Doug Letheren, Rena Narumi, Ella Rothschild and Renee Sigouin worked together in groups or one on one creating a flow of the narrative with exceptional skill.

There are many creative moments in Assembly Hall, clever use of old technology and sound bites that create the overall mood of the piece. Totally enjoyable, clever theatre/dance.

© 2023 Nancie Ottem
Photo Credit Michael Slobodian