BATS Theatre, Studio, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

24/02/2021 - 27/02/2021

NZ Fringe Festival 2021

Production Details

One man and an overhead projector take a humble marble on a hero’s journey.  
With no dialogue, analogue technology and all illusions constructed live in front of the audience, this show promises more humility and charm than you can fit your heart around.

Adam Rohe is an actor, director and clown who has recently moved to Poneke from Tamaki Makaurau. His previous mahi includes directing Ionesco’s The Chairs as part of Te Pou Theatre’s diversity series, touring to Vancouver with The Dust Palace’s feminist riot The WonderWombs, acting in Silo Theatre’s Hir and working as a clown doctor in elderly care facilities in Auckland.

When working with Manubrium Circus Theatre on their show Kridati, Adam found himself suddenly and unexpectedly filling the role of overhead projection artist. This took him abroad with them to the Perth Fringe World Festival in 2020. His exploration of this apparatus got me very interested in the life and character of inanimate objects, which he has been joyfully exploring more extensively in recent months. The result is this extremely silly little show with a title as grand as he could conjure.

There is no dialogue and little narrative. It’s mostly a series of explorative games with familiar objects under a microscope.

BATS Theatre, The Studio
24 – 27 February 2021
The Difference $40
Full Price $20
Group 6+ $18
Concession Price $15
Addict Cardholder $14

Access to The Studio is via stairs, so please contact the BATS Box Office at least 24 hours in advance if you have accessibility requirements so that appropriate arrangements can be made. Read more about accessibility at BATS.

Dramaturgy and Operator: Greta Biggs

Theatre , Solo ,

45 mins

An audacious sleight of hand

Review by Ines Maria Almeida 25th Feb 2021

On top of being an actor, director and clown, Adam Rohe, the creator of the one-human-show Marble Cinematic Universe, is a total sweetie. At least, that’s what he seems to be as I enter the Bats Studio (puffing, thanks to the stairs and dinner at Rita beforehand), and see him on the floor in the centre of the stage, surrounded by what appears to be a bunch of junk. But one person’s trash is another’s treasure.  

Rohe is charming to say the least, and he’s wearing roller shoes, which is… cute for a young man in his early 20s? Rohe’s show takes place on an overhead projector. He’s not the star, the marble is.

It takes a while for me to get into the flow of the narrative (if you can call it that), but there are many in the audience who find the marble and his hero journey frankly hilarious. There’s a young guy, two bodies down from me, who is literally in fits of laughter and I find myself wishing I was also hopped up. Alas, I’m stone cold sober and while the show is adorable, I don’t think I’m the audience Rohe had in mind when he created this piece.  

The star of the show, in my humble opinion, is Rohe’s soundtrack – and Greta Biggs, the production protege that makes it all come together so beautifully. Through his thoughtful and considered choices of music, Rohe manages to elicit empathy, excitement and pathos with tunes from Portishead, Massive Attack and something delightful and dreamy and French by a band I don’t know but would very much like to.

My date, who is a kid-at-heart-kind-of-man with an exceptional sense of humour and laugh to match, is thoroughly entertained though. So, that’s a win for Rohe. And he’s not alone, though I secretly suspect that because it’s opening night, a lot of the guffaws and chortles are coming from Rohe’s friends and family (and there’s nothing wrong with that).

The ‘treasure’ surrounding Rohe on the stage ranges from vintage tongs, fondue forks, glassware, water with food colouring, and a slug-like sponge that gets most of the laughs. The show itself is a series of little vignettes, some involving the marble and some sans marble. At one point I’m wondering why I’m here and what it’s all for.

As we walk home from the 45 minute show, I ask my man-boy what the point was of the Marble Cinematic Orchestra. I launch into a mini rant on the waterfront how art, especially performance art, should have a purpose, and it should make you think. We talk about how what man-boy thinks is funny is different to what I think is funny, and how humour really isn’t universal at all. We riff on the slug rag, and why some thought it was hilarious, and also how we were a little disappointed with the look of the marble on the big screen, when the glassware really stole the show with its textures and shadows. And then we fall silent and watch the glow of the moon dance on the still waters of the harbour, but all the while we are thinking silently about what we just experienced.

Later on, in the glow of my computer as I write this review, I realise that Rohe did exactly what all artists set out to do with their work: he made me think things; he made me feel things. What a sleight of hand, Adam. The charm of the show and the experience watching it can be summed up in a line that caught my ear from a ranty monologue that was part of the show’s orchestra: “I have the audacity to think that I matter.”

Whether you laugh out loud or not during the show, Marble Cinematic Universe is Rohe’s way of telling the world that how he sees the world, and who he is as a performer and artist, really does matter. It is audacious! And I believe him.


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