Australian audiences may recall their appearance in the original version of the 2006 documentary, The Secret. While controversial, it did attract interest from high profile media figures such as Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres.
Directed by Elizabeth Millington, Claire Pearson as Esther and Kyle Walmsley as Jerry, present a satirical send up of these ‘self help’ gurus as part of the 2019 Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
Set within the labyrinthal confines of the iconic Nicholas Building, audiences are present at a workshop setting. Anyone who has ever attended a self help workshop will know the format well.
A slightly flustered Jerry sets the tone for the next hour, offering a potted history of the couple’s achievements, and a constant reminder to purchase merchandise or make a donation to the cause – the more you give, the more you will receive…
As Esther, Pearson gives a self-assured performance that is believable and draws you in. Channeling a higher plane, through a series of facial expressions and body movements, Esther proceeds to translates the non-physical entities called Abraham – in a voice that resembles someone who has just sucked the gas out of a helium balloon.
Through some passive audience participation, levels of the vortex are obtained, and desires achieved through a series of mind-reading exercises – reminiscent of the brainwashing techniques often associated with these styles of workshops.
Under Millington’s directorial guidance, the work moves at a constant pace. Not even the sonorous sounds of a nearby pub choir wafting through the building, could derail the ever-present tension between Esther and Jerry – that leads to a surprise conclusion. A super hilarious show that has much promise with further development.
Esther Hicks is Vibrationally Speaking
Laneway Learning – Nicholas Building, Swanston Street, Melbourne
Performance: Friday 12 April 2019 – 7.30pm
Season: 11 – 14 April 2019
Image: Kyle Walmsley as Jerry and Claire Pearson as Esther (supplied)
Review: Rohan Shearn