A gutsy performance of dance, combining modern and ballet styles with rhythmic physical comedy. It's almost like Carol Burnett meets the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.
- Barbara North
The Chronicle~Herald Halifax
Human Rituals works up a sweat
The three members of New York's Azzizz Theatre (pronounced "as is") have never heard of our own Jest In Time Theatre (I asked), but an afficionado of one will certainly appreciate the other.
A superb blending of comedy and pathos fleshing out their themes of sexual politics, privacy and solitude.
Their synchronized movements take them from calestentics to Bruce Lee to the Three Stooges. Silent Partners displays the troupe's skills at switching roles on a dime...
The members of Azzizz Theatre make good use of their contrasting personalities and physiques; their work is refreshingly adult and energetically executed. Hopefully their first trip north will not be their last.
- Stephen Cooke
FourPlay is just so cute you can't help but guffaw and hate yourself for getting sucked in.
Bob Bellamy and Erin Dudley are the evil partners in this comedic crime. This duo, are so cute the most jaded spectator can't help but like them and laugh.
- Leslie Perreaux
The Daily News, Halifax
The Shaft finds humor between floors.
New York's Azzizz Theatre,a hit at last year's Fringe, returns with a fun, provocative 70-minute piece that plays with the old cliché of three strangers stuck in an elevator.
Azzizz Theatre owes as much to the great days of silent-film comedies as it does to modern dance. If you could imagine Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Clara Bow trapped in an elevator and then given choreography by Martha Graham, you might be able to imagine what The Shaft is getting at.
Surprisingly, there is hardly any dialogue, and almost all the action unfolds as movement or dance.
John Akin Jr.'s music was particularly apt. When in the elevator, a cloying muzak-like mush drifted out, perky enough to be noticed but always one step away from melting into the wallpaper. During the fantasy sequences, however, Akin delivered a series of erotically charged, Florid melodies that provided a driving background for the choreography.
Sharp stage management and polished acting maintain Azzizz Theatre's impressive reputation.
- Ron Foley Mac Donald
The Edmonton Sun
Quirky Comedy Pleases
Last year the wildly creative New York-based company called Azzizz Theatre got as far as Saskatoon before returning to the Big Apple. Too bad because their hilarious dance/comedy Sexual Healing was one of the high points of the Saskatoon Fringe. This year the company makes it all the way to Edmonton presenting FourPlay, a quirky, entertaining hour - the sort of thing you can only find at the Fringe and the kind of lighthearted frolic that defines the event.
FourPlay suddenly takes off when Bob Bellamy appears as the first blind date. Bellamy has a um, bulky shape for a dancer. In fact, he is more of a mover, but, my how he moves. His style is reminiscent of "eccentric dancing," a form that was popular in the movies in the 30's. Buddy Ebsen did it with Shirley Temple. James Cagney's Yankee Doodle Dandy was an eccentric dancer. You can see traces of it still in breakdancing. Whatever its roots, Bellamy is explosively funny and his disconnected, india-rubber body seems to be moving in several directions a once.
Azzizz is a well-established company and they bring us a light Fringe diversion based on rigorous attention to technique but filled with delicious comic interplay between two solid performers.
- COLIN MACLEAN
Robert Bellamy and Erin Dudley are both talented dancers who use movement to perform a story about a woman on a quest for love and intimacy. Both actors deliver the goods with an economy of expression that cuts right to the point.
Many good laughs are to be had in the recognition of the characters Bellamy portrays and in Dudley's reaction to them. We've all been there and done that, but it's great fun to revisit those moments of horror in the dating world.
- Audrey Webb
You might want to see Sexual
Healing soon, before the cast melts. This intensely
physical dance-theatre piece is being held in the Hibachi
of all venues the Boy Scout Hall.
- Cam Fuller
Sunday Free Press
The audience spent the whole climax of this mix of mime, dance and theatre giggling and waiting to see if the skimpy costumes would fall off. The story of three strangers stuck in a stalled elevator. The play is short on dialogue but strong on body langugage. With physical and mental heat turned up in the enclosed space, each soon lets their true personality come to the fore. The fragile female turns into a dominatrix, the macho Mexican into a soother-sucking baby and the bespectacled lad into a strip-teasing Tinkerbell... in the end, the trio of talented performers has the audience ready for another hour trapped in the lift.
- Susie Strachhan
Here's what some of the people from our audiences have said about Azzizz.
I must state I am not a fan of dance, especially modern. However as we were leaving the theatre someone behind me said, "wow. That is the most incredible thing. I never saw anything so beautiful," and I agreed whole heartedly.
This 65-minute piece flows on stage like an energetic, sensual, complex dream. A dream of interacting parts, connecting, disconnecting, and reconnecting completely, differently, formlessly.
The small handful of dialogue helps to reinforce the story, never distracting nor limiting the performance. Martin Balmaceda as the therapist, is brilliant, Bob Bellamy as the fainting, jealous husband was a delight, and Carol Sirugo, (the wife) moved like a scarf, between the two men.
These three individuals, merged to convey a complex, funny, touching story, purely through movements a task not easily accomplished. And they do it with such energy and passion.
Top marks. Don't miss this one, folks.
This 65-minute foray into the pitfalls of intimacy in marriage is both humorous and serious at the same time. The play involves a couple who are having great trouble connecting emotionally and sexually in their relationship. It's the way in which these issues are addressed that's funny! Bob Bellamy plays the narcoleptic husband who falls asleep every time his wife touches him. Carol Sirugo is the wife who wears a padded bra, bright red wig, an eye-popping outfit, and who cringes at even the idea of her husband's touch.
Enter the sex therapist. Played by Martin Balmaceda, he is the "over the top" horn-rimmed glasses doctor who looks like he hasn't left the laboratory for years. What follows is a series of comic "therapy" episodes depicted in dance and expressive looks the are skillfully performed by a multi-talented cast. The result is self-discovery.
This is a play well worth taking in for it's humour and its talented cast!
The Only Thing Missing
Was Marvin Gaye
Review by Kronos
June 1996 Based in NYC a Forum for Movement Theatre Artists Issue 9
Azzizz Challenges the status quo
The March 24th SALON GATHERING was another exciting and controversial evening with Bob Bellamy presenting excerpts from his company AZZIZZ, along with history of his own evolution as an artist. A longtime student of Paul Curtis and The American Mime Theatre, Bob has performed with Doug Elkins Dance Company touring internationally and performed with Touchstone Theatre in Bethlehem, PA.
Using video clips and narration, Bob presented several pieces that were ideolgically and technically ambitious. One entitled "Flywheel", depicted an almost Sisyphus like scenario of eccentric character endlessly turning a wheel connected to a treadmill. The character descriptions were archetypal and in Bob's description, covered many different human desires and dysfunctions. The second, called "Silent Partners" also dealt with psychologial issues, perhaps even more pointedly, where each character was actually a manifest of personality flaw. These people were all trapped in the same room for some reason, playing off of and torturing each other with their respective idiosyncrasies.
Like a cross between existentiaism, surrealism and Samuel Beckett, Bob's work addresses age old questions without trappings of traditional storyline, plot or text. It is dangerous ground to tread, with the threat of cliche and over acting balancing on the fine line of stylization and archetype. If theatre's intent is the shake up the audience, Bob certainly succeeded with these, allowing us to experience te discomfort of facing our own flaws, or as one viewer called it "our personal hell".
One of the live solos, performed by company member Jenny Lambert and entitled "Hello?", married these ideas to painfully perfection. It began innocuously enough with a harried bussiness woman desperately trying to get her key in the door as her phone rang insistently on the other side. Of course as she got to the phone, it stopped. Then, comically at first, the phone began to ring and stop, each time she picked it up. This evolved into a demented relationship where the woman and the phone became adversaries eventually driving the woman mad.
Bob closed his presentation with his first mime peice, a classic character study of an old man. It was a gentle little piece, all the more contrast after the material that preceded it and provoked many questions about the evolution of one's work. Bob's commitment to his vision served as an inspiration to us all in these challenging times.
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