Sunday, 1 March 2015

Elephents, Perth Fringe Festival, Western Australia, 21/2/15

Oh Perth (the Australian one, not the Scottish one) I turn my back for two years and your Fringe Festival balloons, you now have hundreds of productions, all over the city and elsewhere, and navigating your overly complex website to choose a likely contender for me to drag my long suffering cousin and host Jen to is a bit of a frustrating lottery. Previous years have fielded the great and the not so great and I have to admit to some nerves as I took my seat for this production, Elephents,  billed as a surreal musical soap opera, which was mainly I have to admit chosen on the basis of location and the fact that it hadn't sold out!
My fears were not initially abated when the bewigged cast appeared on stage, wearing droopy elephant ears and I wondered what I had let us in for and whether my host would ever trust me with booking duties again. However, as the performance got underway I soon realised we had struck lucky!

An impressively talented cast of five take on a number of roles in this yes surreal, but also funny and sometimes very touching musical play. The world is dying, the zoo animals are in danger, relationships are forming and being tested, talents and ambition are being challenged and wallpaper is being chosen!

Each character has their moment in the spotlight, often accompanied by a few elephants in the room, and a simple, low budget but very clever design works well.

In the main musical accompaniment (and a great line in facial expressions) comes from constant elephant in the room Brett Smith, although the fine voiced cast of Gita Bezard, Adriane Daff, Jeffery Jay Fowler and Pete Townsend also join in from time to time (don’t you just hate people that can sing, act and play so well - it's like they stole all the talent from the rest of us!)
I couldn't explain this production, but what I can tell you is that it has an extremly talented cast and utterly charmed me from beginning to end. I was so glad to have had a chance to experience its uniqueness.

I believe that the theatre company behind this, The Last Great Hunt, based in Perth, are intending to bring a production or two to Edinburgh this year. Might be a good one to check out all you lucky Edinburgh fringe people (very like Perth fringe I'm sure just bigger and swap midges for mozzies!)

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