WAAPA 3rd Year Performance Making Students
Blue Room Theatre
August 30 - September 9
The Blue Room Theatre is the perfect venue for TILT, the annual showcase of WAAPA’s Performance Making course’s graduating class. It’s exactly the sort of venue these artists will first venture into in the big, wide world outside the academy.
All the pieces in TILT, which is presented in two programmes, are self-devised, and brand new. You look for the talent and personality of the creator/ performers, and the potential for their pieces to take the leap from a half-hour showcase to the hour or so of a full Fringe/Alternative theatre production.
Other TILT shows have made that leap with mixed results; finding character and narrative development, light and shade, is no easy task. Pieces that are essentially skits can be quickly found out in longer formats.
A Cuppa Tea (Timothy Boulton and Naomi Fogliani) is a tightly-organised rumination on the elusive meaning of things that owes much to puppetry (although, strictly speaking, it has none) and synchronicity. Fogliani and Boulton are like figurines in a glockenspiel clock, moving to a soundtrack somewhere between a tic toc and a soft, wet slap.
Do you have a moment to talk about Vincent Park? (Charlotte Otton, Rebecca Price, Louise Spencer and Mitchell Whelan) lacks a little sharpness in its writing and performance, but the story of a little, lonely man (Spencer, very like indie champ Shane Adamczak) and his quest to write the Book of Truth doesn’t lack impact – especially in a quite overwhelming audio/visual segment – or a moral: all we want is to have our cake and eat it too.
Blue Sky Thinking (devised and performed by Megan Hunter, Kylie Bywaters and Imogen Flint) starts with the sultry spiel of a late-night sex chat room advertisement and stays on fine, nasty message throughout. Hunter and Flint play veterans of the exploitative fantasies that Blue Sky peddles, and their attempts to initiate Bywaters into its ways and means are sharply scripted (despite a not-especially clear denouement) and spiffily staged.
Alex Bear’s Stitched Up is a short character study of a boy who loves footy, fishin’, cars, girls… and knitting. Bear plays the Violent Femmes on a tiny guitar, knits one, pearls one and delivers a funny-sad portrait of a young man’s struggle with adulthood.
Created and directed by Riley Spadaro, I Am Not Your Safe Space co-opts Isaac Diamond, Sam Hayes, and the busy Kylie Bywaters, Julia Landberg and Mitchell Whelan from other TILTs for a romp through the dark reaches of neo-conservatism. A bizzaro dinner party evolves into a cross between Macbeth’s weird sisters and a federal cabinet meeting. It is the second evening’s showstopper.
Losing The Ground Beneath My Feet (Ravenna Bouckaert, Julia Landberg, Nefeli Perdikouli and Jake Pitcher) is the second evening’s enigma, and its most promising piece. An exploration of loss – of memory, of a parent and unborn child, the piece uses physical theatre and text to capture some moments of great pathos and heartbreak.
The View From The Penthouse (Isaac Diamond, Sam Hayes and Cam Pollock) is a brilliant, noxious cocktail of carnality and addiction, superbly literate, impeccably staged and elevated by memorable performances.
Hayes is simply incredible as Griff, a domineering predator, in a performance with echoes of Peter Capaldi’s Malcolm Tucker and Eric Bana’s Chopper Reid. He’s simply terrifying. Diamond is equally compelling as the fallen angel Fin, a junkie rent-boy Griff pitilessly abuses and disposes of.
The music, Nirvana and Kanye West, The Girl From Ipanema and, miraculously, Van Morrison’s ecstatic Sweet Thing, is a gift, and the propulsive opening dance routine, driven by Jungle’s Busy Earnin’, would go down a storm in at least a couple of Perth nightclubs.
This is a five-star 35 minutes of theatre, easily extendable into the hour it will run when it makes its inevitable return on the professional stage.
Don’t miss it then.
These reviews appeared in The Weekend West Australian on 2/9/17 and 9/9/17.