Venue: King Street Theatre (Newtown NSW), Jun 20-22, 2013
Actors: Guillaume Barrière, Bianca Bonino, Ross Brown, Scott Parker
Commedia dell’Arte is today a rare art form, especially in Australia where conformity in the arts (and everywhere else) is order of the day. This production’s attempts at creating laughter within a tradition of forgotten rules and atypical disciplines, instead of resorting to the common and crass is laudable. It is indeed that lost discipline with its specific sense of humour and use of classical physical movement and masks, that is the most interesting feature of this show.
The overall direction is kept casual, allowing the play’s performers to distinctly showcase their individual skills and training. Especially Guillaume Barrière and Bianca Bonino, who present an unconventional form of comedy that is simultaneously restrained and effervescent. The rest of the cast is also delightful, each given appropriate space for expression, allowing them to utilise their own idiosyncrasies to create characters that move the plot along.
Lighting design however, could have been more helpful in preventing each scene from looking and feeling too similar. Costume is surprisingly effective, with every article of clothing serving a purpose in illustrating character types and also in providing actors with additional creative devices.
It is a great merit of the theatrical arts that personalities from distinct backgrounds can collide and collaborate. It is at the theatre that moments can be concocted on a singular stage that is completely otherwordly and outside of the ordinary life.