There’s a difference, though, to a work being in-development and the performer still holding the script in his hand. It puts the show in a tricky position – If you’d like the audience’s feedback on the story as adapted, then stage a reading. Otherwise, feedback on the show itself can only be so useful when the physicality is so limited.
To be sure, there’s moments where the physicality is compelling and there are brief glimpses where the text combines with performance and design to lift from a straight retelling into something intriguing and engaging. But, for the most part, the script is an anchor around Christopher Bryant’s neck. Even when he hits a passage he remembers, the text is still in his hand and the show never truly takes flight.
Justin Gardam’s design elements are fine enough, but La Mama Courthouse is a terrific venue and needs to be used here as more than essentially just a projection screen. Productions such as Rawcus’ Song for a Weary Throat, and Fizzwack Theatre’s Misterman are two recent examples where text and performance are intimately connected to the space. Lockpick Pornography offers hints of that, with a chair and live microphone and clothes rack, it isn’t nearly enough. However, these are early days!
Adaptations are hard at the best of times and the willingness for Bryant and Director, Emma Palackic to be as vulnerable as this can only be admired and encouraged. There’s a fantastic work of theatre being built here and it’s a privilege to be allowed onto the site for a closer look.
La Mama Courthouse, 349 Drummond Street, Carlton
Performance: Wednesday 17 January 2018 – 6.30pm
Season continues to 21 January 2018
Information and Bookings: www.lamama.com.au
Image: Christopher Bryant (supplied)
Review: David Collins