by Paula Citron
The Spinster’s Almanac is Susie Burpee at her most vulnerable. The subtitle of this full-length solo dance show is “a cabaret of solitude”, and her metaphor is the bird – from the delicate flutters of her first appearance, to the predatory brazenness of her inner psyche, to her final resignation of longing – Burpee creates a memorable character in dance.
The production is really an installation because Normand Vandal’s bird feather set is an integral part of the choreography. Jennifer Triemstra has created a gorgeous vintage black dress that is elegance personified, while Alice Norton’s remarkable wig turns Burpee’s head into a bird’s while still looking glamorous. Composer Christine Fellows’ evocative song cycle deserves a second hearing.
Burpee’s character has class, and is reminiscent of the post war women who never married because of the shortage of men, and so descended into the polite world of spinsterhood. We all know someone like Burpee’s bird lady.
The Spinster’s Almanac continues until Saturday.
From the Young Centre, I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.