The Street Theatre Christopher Samuel Carroll stars in Icarus - photo by Shelly HiggsInspired by news items reporting bodies falling from the sky, Christopher Samuel Carroll’s mesmerizing wordless creation, depicts, in minute detail, the story of a man who eventually becomes one of these bodies, and the circumstances leading to his attempt to stow away in the wheels of an air-liner with tragic results.

An Irish theatre-artist now based in Canberra, Christopher Samuel Carroll is a graduate of the Ecole Internationale du Theatre Jacques Lecoq, The Samuel Beckett Theatre Centre and Trinity College Dublin. He developed this production through the Street Theatre’s First Seen: new works-in-progress program, and premiered it at the 2019 Perth Fringe Festival where it was declared Winner in the Dance and Physical Theatre Category.

Performed in a simple ambiguous costume, on a bare stage, without the aid of props, but with an atmospheric soundscape by Kimmo Vennonen, and Jed Buchanan’s sparse lighting design, Carroll, uses just his own body, and his considerable skills as a mime artist, to create a narrative around a young man, obsessed with video games, with just his cat for company, who finds himself trapped in a building destroyed by a stray bomb.

On the point of starvation, he eventually frees himself from the building, and after a series of adventures is inspired by the sight of a plane flying overhead to embark on a journey, which does indeed, take him too close to the sun.

Drawing on the familiar mime skills made famous by Marcel Marceau, Carroll discards the white face, which gives his characters a more contemporary edge. His attention to detail, and the preciseness of his polished technique, allows the audience to quickly become engaged in his story- telling.

So much so, that those lapses where he jolts the audience out of the carefully established conceit by inviting them to taste some imaginary food, or when he quenches his thirst by drinking from a wine glass belonging to an audience member, and during a sequence when he’s trudging through desert, and the soundtrack distracts with a reference to the theme for the movie Lawrence of Arabia, become more irritating than amusing.

Carroll’s performance demands close attention from his audience, and leaves room for discussion as to how individual audience members perceive the various nuances of the story-telling, but for those wishing to experience an imaginative and unusual piece of theatre-making, this is a performance well-worth the investment.

The Street Theatre, 15 Childers Street, Canberra City West
Performance: Wednesday 27 February 2019
Season continues to 3 March 2019
Information and Bookings: www.thestreet.org.au

Image: Christopher Samuel Carroll stars in Icarus – photo by Shelly Higgs

Review: Bill Stephens OAM