16 September 2011

22 Short Plays at the Street Theatre. A review

| johnboy
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Photo by Sarah Walker

This show is only on this weekend, so if you’re interested you need to get cracking with the booking.

As a production it’s highly unusual in that the play is written by a Canberra playwright, David Finnigan, but it’s been brought to Canberra by a Melbourne group MKA.

I had the advantage of my (very cute) date for the night being both new to Canberra and unfamiliar with Finnigan’s previous work.

As the house music warmed up it reminded me of the jazz trumpet work in David Lynch’s “Lost Highway”.

My date was also unfamilar with the work of David Lynch.

So when the expected madcap journey of 22 Short Plays descended into Lynchian absurdity I can report that even a newcomer to all this lunacy thoroughly enjoyed it.

At the best of times Finnigan’s thought processes can resemble a bowl of noodles. When given the freedom to throw 22 disparate short plays at the stage (plus two interludes) things were always going to be a bit over the place.

The lost discman, the slave market at the top of the ski lift, a disturbing cross dressed exploration of erotic literature, the absurdity of glitchy video games, experimental punk music, these are just a few of the landscapes romped across.

When theatre ventures into the absurd there’s always a temptation to look at your watch and wonder “how long is this going to go on and do I need to go to the toilet now or can I wait?”.

Fortunately with the narrator handily announcing which number play we’re up to it never drags and I was always comfortable waiting for the end.

As with all experimental theatre the audience sits in the front rows at their own risk.

22 Short Plays is a thoroughly enjoyable journey through early 21st century culture and a great way to kick off an evening in Civic this weekend.

David’s thoughts on the play are on his site.

[Photo by Sarah Walker]

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if you’ve ever fallen into a white hole or tried to get a Fremen troop to work for you, then the play makes perfect sense

I think you and I are similar jonhboy in that our primary questions when going to the theatre are ‘How long is this going to last?’ and ‘Jesus this is going forever.’ If you can make it through the show without getting ragingly bored, I consider that a massive success.

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