Review by Susie Conte
Deep under the State Theatre Centre is a rehearsal room that occasionally serves as a black box theatre; currently the space is marked out with long pendant grey ribbons, creating a sort of boxing ring. The five actors enter, all in different coloured tracksuits, a pastel band of advisors. What follows is 75 minutes of intense, fast talking, nimbly choreographed words directed by Gita Bezard – words that come at you like a tsunami, bounce off the walls, and reverberate in the space. These words offer advice in many forms, about sex, murder, gender, race – the list goes on. Sometimes the advice is funny, sometimes awful, sometimes true.
Two women, Arielle Gray and Frieda Lee, and three men, Mararo Wangai, Jeffrey Jay Fowler and Chris Isaacs, never speak to each other; this is a play with no direct dialogue, yet they communicate with gestures and facial expressions, and through their rhythmic advice to the audience. This slick performance shows their skills with both movement and speech. The petite Frieda Lee with a giant, compelling smile paired well with Arielle Gray; together they gave us two strong female characters doling out advice and not taking any sh*t. Chris Isaacs has perfect deadpan delivery and movement, and Jeffrey Jay Fowler is clever and a little snide at times. Mararo Wangai, a powerful, totally present and credible performer, delivered a brilliant monologue on race. These were the moments I was truly engaged, when I could listen a little longer than a snappy soundbite; the breakneck speed is commendable, but I wanted a little more connection and time to absorb what was being said.
In a theatre world sorely lacking in diversity, I was pleased to see diversity on their stage and how the ensemble handled all the difficult questions. I found myself watching Wangai and Lee the most, as I really wanted to hear what they had to say. Both performers were superlative.
The Last Great Hunt is expanding by leaps and bounds in the Perth theatre scene and their work is consistently intelligent and high-calibre. This show is absolutely worth it.
The Advisors runs until June 10 at Rehearsal Room 1 in the State Theatre Centre. For tickets and more information, visit the TLGH website here.