Chocolate from the Java Dance Company of New Zealand is a fantastic hour of entertainment that defies description. Part dance, part virtuoso violin and cello, part physical theatre, part burlesque; it deserves it’s own category in the world of theatre, a mind-boggling hidden realm entered by what Bert the Chimney Sweep would probably call the Doorway to a Place of Enchantment.
Set amidst the glittering Edwardian pier-glass mirrors of the magnificent bijou Spiegeltent in George Street, Java bring us a dance experience so sexual and so intimate that we can almost smell the sweat from the dancers as they whirl past us like gods and then – satyr-like – tempt us like the Incas of old with offerings of darkest bitter chocolate disarmingly wrapped in gleaming gold foil.
Meanwhile, on stage a passionate boy-girl drama plays out, and we witness euphoria, foreplay, jealousy and covetousness; the whole audience finally invited to the wedding feast as we are all pulled onto the stage and the dancers weave amongst us like slanting fish and the music – played on an assortment of stringed instruments, maracas, tambourines and even cacao beans – reaches a crescendo.
But all is not marital bliss and a ritual nuptial of pouring molten chocolate onto the bride is interrupted by her jealous new husband when she starts to feed members of the audience. An orgy of chocolate pouring ensues and the stage is covered in cacao nibs as she is buried, Snow-White-like before rising again from the dead, covered in chocolate.
The music is a mix of Flamenco, Rococo and Tribal and there are are no suitable words to describe the total experience that this show affords its audience: sensual, sexy, euphoric, unforgettable are all inadequate. It is revolutionary, fearless, delicious, stunning, all-enveloping and unmissable. Though it’s not recommended to wear your new white cashmere suit…