Jonathan Safran Foer found a way to actively respond to his favourite book Street Of Crocodiles. Take out the razor blade and cut letters out of every line and recreate something different. Take seven letters out of Street Of Crocodiles and you have Tree Of Codes. Is the result of his work a homage, a new work, a reinterpretation or a piece of poetry. Whatever the result is considered to be, it was this work that inspired choreographer Wayne McGregor, installation artist Olafur Eliasson and electronic composer Jamie xx to create this contemporary ballet. They have created quite an extraordinary visual feast.

No program was provided with this piece so I cannot make any specific commentary of the creatives intentions or the artists individual contributions. What I can talk about is the impact of experiencing it. At the top of the show we are immediately drawn into this visual world as the dancers, adorned in lit globes performed on the blacked out theatre stage. What we witnessed was a delightful dance of lights that formed shapes and patterns in the darkness. This was followed by a stunning visual with the use of light, polished cones and just the performers forearms. What followed for the rest of the evening was a highly physical and intriguing performance. A mirrored backdrop created a new dimension to the performers work. At one point a piece of the mirrored wall was ‘cut-out’ and curved inwards adding layers and dimensions. At another the reflections expanded as the mirrored wall became a two-way mirror. Dancers performed on either side of the mirror creating the reflections of one set of dancers moving next to the second set. A multidimensional spectacle then evolved as a second walled mirror behind this sent reflections and performers cascading into infinity. It was this moment when the inspiration for this piece was most specifically manifest. The paperback of Tree Of Codes is a fragile collection of pages, the removed words and letters creating a multidimensional work as you see pages and words deep into the book.

For me the show lost some momentum three quarters of the way through this 75 minute performance. Whether this was due to an overextension of a concept or the stifling heat in the ICC Darling Harbour Theatre. For some insane reason, the airconditiners where not used in this modern theatre and the audience sweltered throughout the performance. The line up for water was longer than the toilets at the end of the performance. Disappointing as it definitely affected the appreciation of this work.

The performers were outstanding. The stamina and skill to exact the forms and movement in this piece for a non-stop 75 minutes was remarkable.

Lynden Jones – Theatre Now & On The Town






Tree Of Codes

Wayne McGregor, Olafur Eliasson and Jamie xx collaborate on a dazzling contemporary ballet

!Book Tickets


6 – 10 Jan 2018



Venue: ICC Sydney
Darling Harbour Theatre

Theatre Company: Studio Wayne McGregor and Manchester International Festival

Duration: 75 minutes

This dazzling contemporary ballet, performed by Company Wayne McGregor, brings together choreographer Wayne McGregor, installation artist Olafur Eliasson and electronic composer Jamie xx to reinterpret Jonathan Safran Foer’s haunting experimental novella.

Tree of Codes takes the cryptic text as its jumping-off point for an exhilarating mash-up of dance, visual art and electronic music, performed by soloists and 10 dancers from Company Wayne McGregor, with a spectacularly colourful visual concept by artist Olafur Eliasson and a pulsating and soulful soundtrack by composer Jamie xx.

Having premiered at Manchester International Festival, this is an unmissable partnership between three visionary artists.

“★★★★★ An exhilarating, visually striking and relentlessly energetic contemporary ballet” The Stage

“Jaw-dropping… with breathtaking physical feats and visual dazzle” The New York Times

This performance contains strobe lighting.

Note: Lockout period applies.

Ticket Prices
Premium $169
A Reserve $119/$107
B Reserve $89/$80
+ booking fee


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