BATS Theatre, The Heyday Dome, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

26/02/2019 - 02/03/2019

NZ Fringe Festival 2019

Production Details

Too much and not enough. Too big and too small. 

“As a kid I collected pigs. Or I thought I did. On recent reflection I realise that what I actually collected were sexy pigs. Figurines of pigs with big human breasts and long dark eyelashes, wearing bikinis or tutus and high heels, riding vespas and carrying little handbags. I am obsessed with this discovery. Obsessed with how in the hell I never looked at my collection and thought, ‘Something is amiss about these pigs.’”

Too much and not enough. Too big and too small. Full Scale sizes up questions of use and usefulness, purpose and promise through eclectic storytelling and everyday objects in this startlingly curious solo work.

With plenty of humour, award-winning performance makers Isobel MacKinnon (My Best Dead Friend, Actual Fact, Soft N Hard) and Meg Rollandi (Actual Fact, WATCH, My Best Dead Friend) bring you this development season of Full Scale.

BATS Theatre: The Heyday Dome
26 February – 2 March 2019
Full Price $20 | Concession Price $15
Group 6+ $14 | Student Night Wednesday $14

Lighting design by Jennifer Lal

Theatre ,

50 mins

Daughter/ mother relationship navigated with creative ingenuity

Review by John Smythe 28th Feb 2019

Full Scale is illustrated with miniature figurines. Paradox is at play at many levels in this development season of this new work by writer/ performer Isobel MacKinnon and co-creator/ designer Meg Rollandi.

There is much to conjure with in the title alone: scaling a fish to get past its defensive covering; scaling the heights from childlike innocence to adult awareness; discovering the enormousness, indeed the enormity, of things once felt to be minor or unremarkable.  

As revealed in the publicity, MacKinnon begins by recalling the moment she realised there was “something amiss” about her treasured collection of pig figurines. And it is her obsession with this discovery that motivates her reassessment of certain childhood experiences – mostly involving her mother, who was the complete opposite of her hoarder daughter.

The table-top collection of figurines – cleverly arranged and live-projected onto a screen to illustrate the unfolding story – come to represent key figures: herself as pig, her mother as angel, her brother as dragon, her music teacher as Victorian woman … There are paradoxes inherent in these choices, too.

Rollandi’s production design combines with Jennifer Lal’s lighting design to ensure there is always visual interest as the true import of MacKinnon’s story sneaks up on us.

In delivering her lively monologue, MacKinnon maintains the tone and perspective of herself as a young girl, with glimpses of a moment when she was 16 and of herself right now. Mostly what happens is simply the way it was, unquestioned. Despite the bight-eyed liveliness and sense of wonder in the telling, there is a remarkable lack of emotion in the recovering of these memories.

Paradoxically, the objective pragmatism of the telling is directly counterpointed by the slowly rising emotional engagement and empathy of the audience. We are compelled to bring a consciousness to it that MacKinnon refuses to predigest for us.

In principle this seems entirely valid. But it makes for not much light and shade in the performance, which tends (on this second night, anyway) to have not quite found its rhythm. At this early stage of a development season, however, the performer’s focus is more on remembering her non-stop lines and managing the logistics of the props. Even so, maybe an outside eye (there is no director credited) would help MacKinnon and Rollandi explore the rhythmical and underlying emotional dynamics more, so that the ‘get it’ moments become more visceral than intellectual for the audience.

How splendid, though, that we have such creatives as these inventing such ingenious ways of navigating such important territory – in this case, a retrospectively problematical daughter/ mother relationship.  


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