It's not every day that you can watch Maori women fiercely chanting, singing and flinging around tethered weights (known as poi) in unison. But New Zealander Lemi Ponifasio's Stones In Her Mouth, now at Luminato, does just that. I just wish there were something more gripping holding it together.
The hour-long show is certainly hypnotic, helped by an intriguing sound design (by Sam Hamilton and Ponifasio) that ranges from cute electronic pops to disturbing noises that evoke a power grid on sizzling overdrive. And Helen Todd's lighting design adds a lot of ambience, especially in throwing huge, impressive shadows behind the women.
But it's the solid presence of the 10 women and their powerful, expressive voices that are the chief feature of the show. Without surtitles, it's impossible to know what they're singing and chanting (poetic translated texts are included in the program).
Still, this is a show that could reduce you to a trance state with its pulsing rhythms, clear, ritualistic movement and impassioned sounds.