Descend into the basement of fortyfivedownstairs and be submerged into the church of Finucane & Smith, dripping with stalactites, Emperor Penguins, and await the ritual of the catwalk, grand piano with blights of haze, glitter, and opera.
Prepare. Pack for an emergency. This could get messy.
Expect your senses to be overwhelmed, and your politics challenged.
WARNING: There's nudity. It's a woman's body, and she's beautiful (obviously dangerous).
After a funded trip to Antarctica comes The Rapture Art vs Extinction Chapter II, produced by Finucane & Smith with a headline of magical artists, Moira Finucane, Ray Dimarrkari Dixon, Mama Alto, Piera Dennestein and Rachel Lewindon.
Digging up skeletons and pointing the bone to ancestral lines, descendants, the land before time, and the Ice Age, the Queen of the North blows a chilling wind up the pipes of humanity and asks – when will you wake up?
Earthlings - we are in trouble. Deep, deep, trouble.
Moira Finucane The Rapture Art vs Extinction - photo by Jodie Hutchinson
Finucane emerges as a goddess, frocked up in couture, spruiking poetry and diatribe about saving the 'krill', the whales and the icebergs. Backed by vocal divas Mama Alto and Piera Dennerstein the word 'krill' is repeated in operatic tones, so we never forget the issue. It's a bittersweet moment, which awakes our senses, perhaps overwhelms them.
Within a heavy rock ballad, Finucane strips down to her jeans and gives a candid and heartfelt account of her trip to Antarctica and the sacred lands of Marlinja in the Northern Territory, where she meets Ray Dimarrkari Dixon and his family.
Finucane gives a candid and heartfelt account of her experience. This is not typical of her previous shows which use a variety of physical theatre techniques, burlesque, circus, butoh, and theatre of decay and the grotesque with a variety of props and usually no dialogue. Usually, front row needs to wear a poncho – but not tonight. This is Finucane raw and real, an 'acoustic set'.
Ray Dimarrkari Dixon enters the stage and plays his guitar and shares songs and story in his language and teaches the audience some indigenous words. Ray not only represents the First Nations of Australia but also brings to mind pressing human and environmental issues - especially fracking in the Northern Territory and other indigenous lands. For me, this is the highlight of the show, and I would have been happy to listen to Ray all night.
After the interval, we break bread with our fellow strangers, and head to Denmark and hear about a tower and the statistics about the number of women murdered each day. I am still perplexed by this piece - not that it is about women, but how it links to the other provocations in the show.
There is no doubt Finucane is a brilliant performer and activist with amazing longevity. However, I felt there were too many provocations in this show, and none explored in depth.
Perhaps the form was attempting to replicate the climate of uncertainty and chaos, but at times it was difficult to grasp the central message.
The show is 90 minutes and at times tedious as parts seemed disconnected or drawn out unnecessarily, and indulges on artistic bells and whistles. It was opening night, so there is a lot of pressure, and Finucane, Mamo Alto and Piera Dennerstein certainly worked the floor like aerobic instructors, at times it was exhausting to watch them.
The audience were gifted with a paper bag (hopefully biodegradable) with a chocolate crow biscuit, a rose flavoured krill lollipop, and 'A Roadmap of Hope - 8 things you can do now every day to help save the world'. A different type of initiation into a new evangelical church, converting us to the new faith - however, I think most of us were believers. How would non-believers fare?
As part of the show, Finucane & Smith have partnered with Fifteen Trees planting one tree for every table that attends the show during the three week season - with the potential of 888 new trees. A great initiative which walks the talk.
If you haven't experienced the force that is Finucane & Smith, take the plunge before we all go under.