By Zoe Pepper and Adrianne Daff
Perth Theatre Company and Side Pony Productions
Directed by Zoe Pepper
STC Studio until May 10
Theatre is generally a low-tech enterprise. Sure, little apples gleam in the dark from lighting and sound desks, but the essential business of theatre remains the activity of people deploying their skills and training in real time, and in person, in front of you.
But in Zoe Pepper and Adrianne Daff’s Confidence Man, all that human endeavour is pre-packaged and handed over to the audience to play with. The apples have taken over the orchard.
Audience members wearing huge, cartoonish masks play Confidence Man’s six characters. They each have a smart phone that gives them individual stage instructions and plays their pre-recorded dialogue for them to mime to. The rest of the audience sits in a single row around a huge set, the floorplan of Pete’s house. Each of them wears a headset and cradles a smartphone with which they can pick and choose the characters they follow as the story unfolds.
There’s a clear legitimacy to this approach, because it more accurately imitates life than conventional theatre, where the audience sees everything from a single point of view. Here the audience sees only part of the story, from one of several perspectives, like Kurosawa’s Rashomon turned back on itself. It’s an intriguing method of storytelling, and makes the plot three-dimensional and genuinely exciting as it reaches its climax.
Link here to the complete review in The West Australian