Love from a male perspective

Issue 

Love from a male perspective

Menlove
Performed by the Didi Koi Dance Company
Theatreworks, St Kilda, Melbourne
Until April 20
$20/$14
Bookings 9534 3388

Review by Bronwen Beechey

Menlove is about love and relationships from a male viewpoint. Tim Davey, one of three dancers appearing in the work (along with Martin Kwasner and Simon Duncan), is quick to distance Menlove from the image of masculinist drum-beating and fire-dancing rituals that such works conjure up.

"We certainly don't have a separatist viewpoint and women who come to see Menlove will probably recognise a lot of their own feelings and experiences. We don't claim to speak for all men, although I realise that you can't get away from the political side of it. It is very much based on our personal experiences", he says.

The dancers, who describe themselves as three of Melbourne's most stubbornly optimistic and romantic dance men, are joined by Cliff Dolliver on set design and dramaturge Paul Hampton. Menlove utilises movement, projected images, lighting and music (including songs by Leonard Cohen and Iggy Pop) to portray the irrational and sometimes antagonistic nature of emotions and feelings.

Davey describes the work as strongly physical and exuberant with a lot of tongue-in-cheek humour. "We look at love in a very broad sense; not just romantic love, but love for family, friends and ourselves. Love is such a powerful thing; it has a huge effect on our lives. In a way it's what makes us get up in the morning and carry on."

Often, writing or performance about men is from a gay perspective. Davey says: "Because the show is based on our own experiences, it concentrates on heterosexual relationships — although there are no women in the cast which presented us with quite a challenge in terms of how do we show love. But I don't think there is a huge difference between the way gay and straight men experience love in its different forms. A lot of these experiences are pretty universal."