There are many impressive elements in Force Majeure’s latest dance theatre production You Animal, You,which is having its world premiere as part of Sydney Festival. But although it is extremely well staged and performed, the themes that it purports to be exploring don’t come clearly into focus.

You Animal, You Ghenoa Gela, Lauren Langlois, Heather Mitchell, Raghav Handa and Harrison Elliott in You Animal, You. Photo © Prudence Upton

With a text by the Company’s Artistic Director Danielle Micich and actor Heather Mitchell, written in collaboration with the other performers and with Sarah Goodes as dramaturg, pre-publicity has suggested that You Animal, Youinterrogates what makes us human in a desensitised age, and presents personal stories to explore our repressed animal selves, particularly that most primal of human senses, smell.

An introductory note in the theatre flyer/programme says: “Part game, part voyeuristic exercise, the work examines how we often deny the driving primal senses within us, forcing them into a place of shame.” Despite some intriguing, beautifully performed monologues by each of the performers, and some stunning physicality, that really doesn’t come across.

You Animal, You