3am Waitress by UK company Rogueplay is billed as "merging physical theatre with dance and aerial circus", but may be better described as a duo acro-dance piece since there is little physical theatre or circus to be found. Following the exploits of a world-weary waitress and her male companion whose role is never clearly contextualised, they execute a series of dance numbers to a barrage of eclectic music in an Americana-esque setting.
All the semblance of content while managing to say very little.
Underpinned by a well scripted piece of performance poetry evoking the lonely, timeless isolation of a waitress at a late-night diner, none of the themes found in the evocative text manage to make their way into the physical performance. The gritty issues of solitude, remoteness, and feeling lost in a temporal black hole are frequently at odds with the perky dance numbers which do not flow or build but often sit in disconnected fragments and rely on the artist interplay with the set to give continuity from one vignette to the next.
Sat off to the side, unused and unintegrated for almost the entire duration of the work, the aerial silks make their first appearance in one of the most aesthetically promising moments of the show where they are stretched out diagonally and scaled in slow motion. Unfortunately this innovative promise isn’t realised in the final closing aerial routine, which is incredibly average and adds little in terms of a narrative or emotional climax. The random addition of a rain machine to this section sadly offers no additional gravitas or spectacle, and instead comes off as a cliched effort to buoy up a flat ending.
That said, there are odd moments of aesthetic intrigue to be found in the work, and although the choreography feels very dislocated from the themes the technicality and quality of the dance delivered from the artists is of a good standard and they move well together, but ultimately this show has all the semblance of content while managing to say very little.