Monday, October 02, 2006

More Fringe fun

Three more shows yesterday:

Me Time

North Melbourne Town Hall until Saturday 14 October

Two naked German tourists in a Bangkok spa bath have a circular discussion about love, death, fantasy and genocide. This almost perfectly realised production by 'Angus Bart' and 'Lucian Cuthbertson' is definitely one of the most accomplished shows I've seen at the Fringe so far. A dry, discordant and unsettling play that goes nowhere, but which is fascinating in its trivial minutiea. A strange, ridiculousmus comedy.

North Melbourne Town Hall until October 6

Comedians Chris Kennett (RRR's The Pinch) and Tim Harris have done something new for Fringe this year: instead of writing a comedy show, they've written a play. There's a strong vein of humour running through the piece, but it's a very mordant humour. There's also an exploration of some dark contemporary themes.

A simple two hander with a set consisting of two chairs, Mule is set in an Indonesian prison cell, and consists of a series of exchanges between Stewie, a strangely cocky drug-mule (Harris) who's been arrested at the airport carrying several kilos of heroin; and Bryce Mcintyre, a young representative from the Australian Embassy (Kennett). Harris manages to be both likeable and malevolent as Stewie, while Kennett conveys his character's fear and confusion admirably, although neither are professional actors.

Despite one or two lapses into exposition, the dialogue is sharp, and the 45 minute show never drags. A satisfying though not especially adventurous production, though both writers deserve praise for pushing their artistic boundaries.

The Taking of Ramsey Street
The Lithuanian Club until October 14

Theatre in Decay are a very hit and miss company. Their 2004 production Empire, set in a parked car with the audience of two or three sitting in the back seat, was one of the best things I saw in Fringe that year. Mata Gelap, another production the same year, was a terrible mishmash of puppetry, satire, music - everything but the kitchen sink, really.

Their latest production, once more written and directed by Robert Reid, is a satirical musical about the Cronulla Riots.

If the very concept unsettles you, for whatever reason, avoid this production. That said, I rather enjoyed it. Billed as 'a work in progress' on the program, it's definitely still rough around the edges, but with more development, could definitely be satisfying. Its humour is well developed, although a subplot involving a Hillsong-style church needs more work, as do some of the characters.

Staging is minimal, and the singing ability and projection skills of the cast vary from passable to poor (sadly, the female lead playing Fisher was almost inaudible at some points of the night) but nonetheless I found myself laughing and engaged throughout the show.


Born Dancin' said...

Wasn't Me Time...interesting? I wouldn't say it was perfectly realised on opening night, and they're going to be changing it throughout the festival, but I was utterly absorbed for most of its duration (they seemed to lose their track at a few points). I'd be tempted to go back for one of the final shows to see where they take it. Definitely recommended for people who are into impossibly sharp performances and thought-provoking (though subtle) writing.

Risperdal Constatine I said...

Have you ever embedded or implied a coded message to me in either your written or oral work, Rich? Yes (and the reason or reasons why you did so) or no, if you don't mind. For reasons I won't go into here, it would help me if you did play a part in the "real" life drama.

Risperdal Constatine I said...

I mean, in your work that otherwise has nothing to do with me, of course. It's the high dose of risperidone they've got me zonked out on to cure my "delusions". As I'm sure you'll be able to detect when we meet on Thursday, it makes me feel like a zombie.