REVIEW: Fringe Festival’s PANDORA’S DOLLS

Seven sins unleashed

By Myron My

Pandora's Dolls

A young woman is seeing a psychiatrist as she deals with the aftermath of her childhood abuse and trauma. Despite the serious theme, Pandora’s Dolls is a variety of surprisingly entertaining acts that deal with the repercussions of her experiences.

Consisting of burlesque, dance and music, the performances take place “inside” Pandora’s head and appear as manifestations of the seven deadly sins. The Greed and Lust segments displayed the choreographic and directorial skills of Donna Robinson and Mark Cipollone, but it was in in the marvelous marionette dance routine for Sloth and the candy segment for Glutton that they excelled.

There’s also no way I can go past the costumes and make-up in praising what else worked well in Pandora’s Dolls. I was in awe of the effort and time that would have been needed to create these pieces. The over-the top-wigs and head dresses along with some highly creative outfits added to the nightmare world that Pandora found herself in with even the support dancers in the red morph suits conveying a mood of horror.

The live band, Rapskallian, was brilliant and the numerous instruments they played showcased their talents and allowed for a more authentic and visceral experience than a mere recording would have. I was especially impressed with their lead singer’s voice during the Greed song, singing in a believable cockney accent.

Unfortunately, the production does suffer during the therapy sessions between Pandora and her psychiatrist, wherein the latter lacked the authority he ought to have in his delivery and body language. There were a number of times where it seemed that lines were forgotten as the performer stood in silence and then apparently repeated lines to find his rhythm again or – from an audience perspective – to end the scene.

The story and themes explored in Pandora’s Dolls did get a little lost in translation and execution, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing given the heaviness of the topic. Overall, it was an enjoyable show due to the highly committed and skilful performers from the House of Burlesque providing much entertainment.

Venue: Lithuanian Club, 44 Errol St, North Melbourne

Season: Until 4 October | 9:30pm

Tickets: $35 Full | $25 Conc

Bookings: http://www.melbournefringe.com.au

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