I'm a freelance actor, travel writer, photographer, foodie and attention seeker living in the lower North Shore. Check out my blog at www.emmajaneexplores.com for more.
You Spin Me Right Round, Baby
"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
There Will Be A Climax presented at The Old Fitz Theatre is definitely on the insane side of the tracks. Indie theatre lighting design regular Alexander Berlage is at the helm of this weird and wacky ship of clowns and his punchy, just under an hour long show has the audience in stitches from curtain to curtain. This is a show that is in your face and often toes the lands somewhere between hilarity and the feeling that you're watching lab humans in an experiment.
There Will Be A Climax
The premise is simple. Six clowns in suits with variations on black wigs with big hair and coloured eyeshadow and lipstick are stuck on a revolve. Things enter the space to confuse and distract them from the futility of their existence, but at the end of the day, they always come back to remembering that they are stuck on this moving circular contraption that doesn't stop. It's kind of like Waiting for Godot with gold foil curtains and crazy hair. To go into the action any more than that would do the show a disservice – it's the kind of visceral, visual show that needs to be experienced rather than described.
As a director, Berlage has assembled a stellar cast and created a mostly tight and cohesive show. There's an evident love for the craziness of it all in his direction and the show has enough flow and freedom to almost feel improvised at times. There are a couple of instances in the middle of the piece where it does feel a little laboured, but with such a strong start and finish bookending the show, this can be forgiven. Nicholas Fry's design is the absolute standout of the piece, with impeccably camp and delicious costumes, makeup and set design making this piece a visual delight. He's perfectly supported by wig supervisor Luke D'Alessandro who has a job on his hands to maintain those crazy hairdos every night. Moments of choreography by Toby Derrick are wonderfully funny and Katelyn Shaw's sound design is clean and simple.
The cast of clowns are all allowed to let their unique personalities shine through with the clear standout being Contessa Treffone who consumes so much raw kale throughout the show that the girl deserves a medal. Her Minnie-Mouse-eared clown with pink eyeshadow feels the unofficial leader of the group and to be honest, it's difficult to tear your eyes away from the work she's doing even when she's not the focus. Toby Blome as the yellow clown in an unfortunate Beatles-esque bowl cut wig is adorable with all the dopey mannerisms of a baby deer finding his feet.
Oliver Crump has a commanding presence as the teal clown, but really needs to allow his personality to shine a little more. Geneva Schofield's character doesn't feel as rounded as some of the others' and unfortunately fades into the background a fair bit. Alex Stylianou looks perfect (his wig is definitely my favourite), but cheapens the comedy by having his character dry hump everything he gets his hands on. Duncan Ragg's orange clown is lots of fun and arguably garners the biggest laughs of the night and has a great rapport with the audience. Despite the fact that there are some bigger characters than others, the ensemble work is wonderful. The actors work together beautifully, playing off the audience and each other to ensure maximum enjoyment.
There Will Be A Climax is an incredibly unique production in the indie theatre scene. Vibrant, full of life and in living colour, this work feels like it could take the fringe world by storm, but it also feels completely at home on a mainstage. Silly, slick and a whole lot of fun.