REVIEW: An Appointment with J Dark

Do you dare?

By Bradley Storer

The event began mysteriously:  a text message calling me to a rendezvous with a stranger named J Dark. Sent directions as if on a treasure hunt, I attended with an equal mixture of anticipation and dread for the coming events.

In this journey through the catacombic backrooms of the North Melbourne Town Hall, the participant is guided through a series of questions, choices, locations, situations and judgements, all incredibly personal but never exploitative, in search of revelation and new knowledge.

The enigmatic but gentle J Dark is at times therapist, partner, confidant, monster, and lover – the only constant in your guide, much like the labyrinth itself, is their unpredictability and mutability.

A piece like this is incredibly difficult to review, as each person will of course experience something as unique and varied as they themselves.  To describe any further would ruin the surprise and inherent joy of this piece, which is the thrill and danger of interacting directly with a performer (who may or may not be a performer) without the restrictions of traditional theatrical performance – like free-falling without a safety net.

While I cannot vouch for everyone’s enjoyment or revelation, this evening left me with a series of beautiful and striking images which haunt me still – a pale vampiric face lit by candlelight; the gloomy gothic ring of striking bells; a mesmerizing love song delivered directly in my ear; and, most important of all, an unopened door behind which lies a terrifying and thrilling adventure.

An Appointment with J Dark is an amazing and vibrant piece of theatre for those willing to take the plunge into the unknown.

Venue: Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall, 521 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne

Season: Wednesday, 18 April – Sunday, 6 May 2012

Time: Wed – Sun, 3pm, 6pm, 7pm, 8pm and 9pm. 35 – 50 minutes no interval (pending audience engagement).

Tickets: Full $20 / Conc $15

Bookings: artshouse.com.au or 03 9322 3713

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