A stunning conversation on mental health through the unified strength of dance and dialogue


Weight/Wait is a raw and enchanting dance performance, untangling one woman’s exertion with anxiety as she begins counselling; chronicling her journey of fear, exhaustion, turbulence and acceptance through the amalgamated art of movement and dialogue.

The second you enter the room, you become seemingly engird in a great sense of dramatic obscurity, one so meticulously calculated the sentiment feels palpable. A soft, amber glow protrudes centre stage in a space otherwise submerged in an uncertain darkness, simulating a devouring confinement; this perturbing sensation is aided by a vivid, ominous humming to which encompasses the area, adjacently composing an enthralling unease of the unknown. This sense of a thick, consuming claustrophobia from setting alone soon becomes evident as a foreboding scaffold, symptomatic of the neuroticism we are soon to encounter.

The brilliantly calculated apprehensiveness the audience have thus far become afflicted with is made more striking by the introduction of an anthropomorphic anxiety, as portrayed by Caldonia Walton, who is terrifyingly mesmerising in her role from the onset; the anti-clockwise gyration of her neck, her somewhat nonsense articulation, and the sporadic movements of her hands is uncomfortably captivating to observe, indicative of her continuous prowess through the performance to come. Once the production commences, Walton is joined by Katherine Richardson, who is equally as entrancing in her emotive execution of Karen: a character with a nerve-ridden disposition, to who finds even the most monotonous of ventures panic inducing, such as purchasing Orange Juice, emphasising a sincere and profound depiction of anxiety disorders and their debilitating influence over everyday life.  

The progression of the storyline through the combined force of somatic and vocal exhibitions is stirring to say the least. In manifestation of Karen’s irrationality prior to and within therapy, the synchronised motions of Richardson and Walton delineate an elegant fluidity, yet in other instances, diverge into harsh, brutal gestures; each of these differing movements having metaphorical proficiency, honestly evocative of the condition’s toil on Karen. In conjunction to the candid and rapid discussion between our protagonist and her personified anxiety, these bodily expressions elucidate the fluctuating dynamics between one's own sense of self and a conscious-consuming mental illness; in turn, such conflict for dominance contrives an invigorated suspensefulness, leaving the viewer tense but infatuated with our entertainers unpredictable moves. Each scene is propelled by intense emotion, capturing desolation, angst and stillness with great ambition, not once rendering lacklustre; your vision at all times prioritising the graphic actions and resonating discourse.

It is the final sequence that elicits what could be considered the most paramount act within the performance’s entirety, with Richardson and Walton animated in idyllic unison as Karen accepts her illness, retaining the mechanisms to function with the disorder. Such perpetuates a refreshing optimism of healthy normality after adverse traumas, contradicting the sensationalism of tragedy so habitual in the media’s commercialisation of mental health.

Empathetically tactful, gracefully written and exceptionally performed, Weight/Wait is as exquisite as it is heart-wrenching, a welcome conversation on anxiety through dance.


Hannah Lee

Hannah Lee Local Reporter

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