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Choose Your Own Portenza @ The Melbourne Fringe Festival

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by Vanessa de Largie (subscribe)
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Choose your own Portenza, as in, choose your own adventure, get it?

If you loved the books, then this show will be right up your alley.

Not only does each audience member get their own Walkman to listen to, during various phases of the show.

Everyone also gets given a remote control so they can choose their own portenza.

The results come up on a screen at the front of the space and Dr. Professor Neal Portenza (aka Joshua Ladgrove), takes you there with great energy and many laughs.
Image by Vanessa de Largie

For those of you who like inclusive theatre, by that I mean - audience interactive, then 'Choose Your Own Portenza' is for you.

On arrival, each audience member is given a party hat to put on, a Walkman and a remote control. From there, it's time to sit down, fasten your seatbelts and get ready for the ride.

I think the strength of this show, is how Joshua's character Neal, interacts with audience members.

At one stage he asks a male member of the audience to come up and join him. There is a lot of whispering going on and a lot of dialogue the audience obviously can't hear.

Yet there is great humour in this, in watching the body language and facial expressions of the two. With the more subtle approach it seems, came more laughs.

For the Melbourne Fringe Festival 2012, Choose Your Own Portenza is being held at Tuxedo Cat. I'm not convinced this is the best space for this particular show.

Choose Your Own Portenza to me is about being free and going on a ride with the character, yet this space reminds me of my year ten classroom with rules and regulations.

I personally would like to see this show in an alternative space, perhaps outside in a summer theatre festival or even theatre-in-the-round, could make it very interesting.

The show concludes with Professor Portenza telling his audience members not to clap and standing at the door, showing them out. I found this very unique and it reminded me of another alternative ending, I had seen in a fringe production, ten years prior at La Mama.

Choose your own Portenza, only has one show left and seats are selling fast. Book your ticket today.
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Why? Let Neal Portenza take you on a ride.
When: 8.30pm
Where: 277 Flinders Lane. Melbourne
Cost: Very reasonable
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