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Barbican, The Pit.  London  

From its description as a show full of creative experimentation in which a young woman meets a kangaroo man in her dreams, one would expect to enter an imaginative world full of poetry and wonder; it is anything but.

The puppets are stiff and expressionless; the animation is badly drawn and eventually turns into a cliched version of Australian wildlife; in this wordless performance, the acting and dancing lack skills and emotions; the music is at best out-dated, at worst irritating and unpleasant; most actions feel too long and out of place. Without any physical presence of performers on stage at all, we passively witness a succession of projections on different screens of very poor taste animations which only reflect the monotonous, monochrome existence of the young woman through their own repetitive mundanity.

The show is later unimaginatively structured into the young woman in bed trying to sleep with the pills the doctor has prescribed her, but failing to do so, thus leading to a nightmare, a device which is used no less than four times in the show. Beyond the pointless indulgence and oblivious innocence of the play lurks something far scarier however: it is unbelievable to think that in this day and age one would not see an issue in portraying a nightmare involving threatening dancers in ethnographic masks and costumes, and another one picturing beastly drag queens on camel carriages in an awkward reference to the pioneering and wonderful film “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” (1994).

Finally, with yet another nightmare depicting a bulldozer destroying a tree, the show briefly jumps on the bang-wagon of climate change awareness to end with the lifesize kangaroo painting on a screen the message WAKE UP!

About The Author

Reviewer (UK)

Caroline Perret is a researcher and teacher in the Social History of Art at the University of Westminster. She is particularly interested in the impact of war on culture, from painting and sculpture to poetry and cinema, in which she publishes and gives conferences. She loves unusual artistic performances and theatre plays, anything that might expand her horizons and fulfill her hunger for new experiences.

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