Tag: innovative

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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Review: MTC’s Boy Girl Wall

A theatre experience that is innovative, intriguing and highly engaging

By Christine Moffat

“Side by side in a leafy suburb, Thom lives in one flat, Alethea in another. It’s pretty clear that their respective unsatisfying lives would improve enormously if they just met each other. But with literally a wall between them, this seems highly improbable.”

This is the scant information ‘about the play’ that the programme divulges; a tantalising three sentences that give you no idea of the dynamic and entertaining 90 minutes you are about to embark on.

Boy Girl Wall is a story about life and love, not just those of the two protagonists, but also of the people, and especially the seemingly inanimate objects, around them.

It is not a story I can set out in this review without removing the magic of discovery as you watch the story unfold.  Suffice then to say, this show is an unorthodox, amusing, entertaining ‘trampoline-like’ experience.

Upon entering the theatre and being seated, you are presented with a set by Jonathon Oxlade that resembles a giant fold-up ping-pong table.  A woman sits to one side of the stage waiting.  This turns out to be Neridah Waters, musical designer and musician and understated partner-in-crime to Lucas Stibbard, the hilarious one-man-band-of-a-performer who delivers Boy Girl Wall.

The implied ping-pong effect is not diminished once the show is underway.  Stibbard appears to be made of energy, delivering an hour and a half of entertaining, intelligent, rapid-fire dialogue (and at least 25 personalities!) and story-telling in a way that makes you feel that the time flew by.

This show is a perfect example of minimalism at its best, where less truly is more.  The production has not much more than a cast of one, a musician, that table-tennis like set (much of which is ‘dressed’ in real time with a stick of chalk), a xylophone and a ruler.

The lighting design by Keith Clark apparently consisted simply of two large retro light globes and an old school overhead projector: all of which are used to great effect for comedy but also, surprisingly for lovely moments of pathos as well.

The ingredients for Boy Girl Wall may not sound like much of a theatrical shopping list, but with these few items this production delivers an evening of surprise, laughter, love and an unexpected dash of optimism for good measure.

Venue: The MTC Theatre, Lawler Studio

Season Dates: 17 April to 4 May 2012

Tickets: From $40; Under 30s just $25

Booking Details: The MTC Theatre Box Office 03 8688 0800 or www.mtc.com.au