Final Savage Land (Sore for Punching You) 2013 SummerWorks Review

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Can you ever love somebody too much; so much so that it hurts just thinking about them? And have you ever been in a relationship where every moment you’re together is like a volatile mix of passion and regret, but apart you feel like you’re nothing?

In the SummerWorks incarnation of Final Savage Land (Sore for Punching You), choreographer Allison Cummings tackles these themes of co-dependence and self-identity though interpretive dance, using only a slight touch of minimalist dialogue.

Brilliantly performed, Final Savage Land was at times extremely difficult to watch since performers Linnea Swan and Luke Garwood perfectly channelled the emotions of heartbreak and loss. Not only were their movements clean and crisp, neither performer ever broke character at all during the performance. During certain parts, I had to look away from the expressions on Swan’s face, because if I found myself staring for too long, I began to experience all the anguish she was trying to portray.

For his part, Garwood was equally riveting. The emotion of vulnerability, which is something that can come across as manufactured in many other pieces, was his to own. The greatest example of this vulnerability was one moment during the performance where he allowed himself to be carried across the stage by his partner. The way he poised his body was reminiscent of an infant being carried by his mother – utterly mesmerizing.

It should also be noted that the production levels for this performance were outstanding. The lighting and stage cues were seamlessly executed by Gabriel Cropley. And the sound mixing and live composition by Lyon Smith perfectly accentuated the strong performances of Swan and Garwood. Smith made great use of his sound board, ensuring flawless transitions between the thematic melodies that were vitally integral to the overall mood and storytelling of this piece.

The Theatre Centre Pop-Up was a brilliant choice for a venue. Small and cozy, there wasn’t an inch of the space that wasn’t used during the performance. A word of caution, however – there are times when either or both of the performers will be mere inches away from you depending on where you sit.

While dance and installation pieces may not be for everybody, Final Savage Land is a real and honest look at the anguish of being a prisoner of an unhealthy relationship. For me, having experienced this not too long ago, watching this performance was like a cathartic purge. If you’ve ever found yourself in a similar situation, I would definitely recommend seeing it.

Note: Final Savage Land was previously reviewed by Mooney on Theatre during its run earlier this year. Read the review here.


  • Final Savage Land is playing at the Theatre Centre Pop-Up (1095 Queen Street West).
  • Show Times: Friday, August 9th at 9:00 PM; Saturday, August 10th at 9:00 PM; Sunday, August 11th at 9:00 PM; Tuesday, August 13th at 9:00 PM; Wednesday, August 14th at 9:00 PM; Thursday, August 15th at 9:00 PM; Friday, August 16th at 9:00 PM; Saturday, August 17th at 9:00 PM; Sunday, August 18th at 9:00 PM
  • All individual SummerWorks tickets are $15 at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at, By phone by calling the Lower Ossington Box Office at 416-915-6747, in person at the SummerWorks Info Booth (located at 100A Ossington Avenue, first floor) Aug. 6-18 10AM-7PM (Advance tickets are $15 + service fee)
  • Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 3 shows