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TOUCHING, ECCENTRIC, EXPRESSIVE, HYPNOTIC

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GO SOLO 2013 GROUP C
Directed by Anya Tate-Manning

at Te Whaea - SEEyD Space, 11 Hutchison Rd, Newtown, Wellington
From 2 Oct 2013 to 12 Oct 2013

Reviewed by Ben Blakely, 4 Oct 2013


Night two begins with Solo Group C in a collection of works that survey the best and worst of humanity.

Lucy Suttor, Brynley Stent, Felix Becroft, Philip Anstis

In city like Wellington, we've all walked passed hundreds of buskers and not taken a second look. Delving into what a busker might have to say is Philip Anstis with his piece It's all for you. The concept is an interesting one, having a captive audience is unusual for a busker whose moving audience would normally be in control. If they don't like it they can move on. Here in the theatre, though, Anstis is in charge and thus is able to control the performance interspersing music with his own story and how he came to be where he is.

His story is touching and Anstis engages the audience well, slowly drawing us in. The only thing I would suggest is slightly amiss is a few jumps in the narrative, moments that could possibly be threaded together a bit more. 

Take a look around, buy anything you like. Everything's for sale. Everything except for that... and that is the slugline for Brynley Stent's solo. Out of the darkness comes what looks to be the most unstable set piece / costume known to man. A cacophony of bric-a-brac comes hosted on the back of a woman named Panks Maybree and the bric-a-brac is her wandering emporium. Everything is for sale and each item has its own story of how it came to be in her possession.

As soon as we are able to see Maybree we know that this is a woman who has lived a full lifetime and certainly outlived many of her companions who live on in the objects she now carries with her. Stent ensures that Maybree is not a one-dimensional crazy lady but tinges the eccentricity with excitement, wonderment, fear and loneliness.

If we are honest with ourselves we've all been the eponymous Meg of Lucy Suttor's solo: a person who is doing their level best just to stay on top of it all. The struggle is not glamorous and is not the stuff of great tragedy but it is relatable, heart-breaking and uplifting.

Suttor creates what for me is probably the most concrete environment out of all of the solo pieces. Using mime sparingly but effectively, making great use of the space, and every word count. There is no need for great speeches as you can read it all in her incredibly expressive face. Suttor describes her work as magical and incredibly bleak but it is the magic that you are left with. 

Felix Becroft's piece, The Dragon and his Shadow, is very unique and a stark contrast to the evening's other offerings. Becroft states in the programme that he is seizing the opportunity to express his disillusionment and anger at the human race and both come spewing forth in what one might call a sales pitch. He is selling us the concept of a new and perfect society, which despite what anyone would say to the contrary, sounds attractive.

Thoughts of American Pyscho are evoked as Becroft holds my undivided attention. I am somewhat hypnotised. The piece is broken into two parts, the second a much slower, more delicate scene which could be read as the construction of the aforementioned utopia.

See also: GROUP A | GROUP B | GROUP D 
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