Clowning in Australia has certainly changed since the days where a trip to the ‘big top’ or festival meant encountering a clown in baggy pants, a silly hat and a big red nose. Not the clowns in The Long Pigs – currently performing at Melbourne’s fortyfivedownstairs.
For seventy-five minutes, the audience was enthralled as three black nose clowns (Clare Bartholomew, Derek Ives, Nicci Wilks) slice the very symbol of innocence off their once red nose cousins, in a mix of mutual distrust and suspicion. As promises are made and ultimately broken, the three turn on themsleves in a fatally funny and destructive climax.
Under Susie Dee’s masterful direction and in collaboration with Bartholomew, Ives and Wilks, they present a stylistically and visually arresting production that is firmly rooted in black comedy and physical theatre. The familiar notion of a clown is dissected in a sinister mix of playful buffoonery and pure evil, where unspeakable acts are made mildly palatable.
Anna Tregloan’s design is brilliant as she transforms the open space of fortyfivedownstairs into a darkened underbelly that features stained curtains, step ladders and over and under sized props, which is complimented by Andy Turner’s stunning lighting design. Jethro Woodward’s soundscape was an enticing exposition of styles from the bold and brassy to the sublime simplicity of a music box.
The Long Pigs is a dramatic and visual feast in which you’ll be totally enthralled. To give a detailed appraise would spoil the element of surprise, just sit back and let it all unfold – but leave the kiddies at home, this ones firmly for the adults.
Director: Susie Dee Featuring: Clare Bartholomew, Derek Ives and Nicci Wilks Set Design: Anna Tregloan Sound Design: Jethro Woodward Lighting Design: Andy Turner Production / Stage Manager: Rebecca Moore Producer: Insite Arts
The Long Pigs
fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Performance: Thursday 13 March 2014 – 8.00pm
Season continues to 23 March 2014
Bookings: (03) 9662 9966 or online at: www.fortyfivedownstairs.com
For more information, visit: www.fortyfivedownstairs.com for details.
Image: Derek Ives, Clare Bartholomew and Nicci Wilks – photo by Ponch Hawkes
Review: Rohan Shearn