A Butterfly Effect

A Butterfly Effect
Adelaide Fringe. First Draft. Bakehouse Theatre. 17 – 22 February 2020

The ‘butterfly effect’ is where a small change at a point in time creates a significant change in the outcome.

A Butterfly Effect is a frustrating sixty minutes observing four people stumble through a wandering commentary on their character’s lives.

It’s an interesting concept: to take a simple premise and have performers improvise each scene and see where it ends up; then to do it again and see how it’s different. Yet to be successful in ‘improv’ you must be good at two things: telling a story and making the other performers look good. No one in this Victorian quartet could meet either standard.

There was no tension created, little human interest sustained and more pauses than a Harold Pinter play. These performers talk rather than converse, give little for the others to work from and have minimal conviction in their own words.

Each instance of the premise begins with the first minute of music and words from the Queen song “I Want to Break Free”, which is odd because the performers show no desire to escape their stereotypical characters.

The first run-through stumbles badly from the first scene then tumbles downhill to an outcome that’s almost an aside to the original premise. When I attended, the second time started with more confidence and with a few subtle changes – that ultimately didn’t tell us anything different from the first time. The third time Freddie started to sing it was on behalf of the audience, which was mercifully answered with the houselights.

It is commendable to try and tell new stories through improvisation, but this is all that’s going for this show and it needs a lot more than that to justify the cost of admission.

Mark Wickett

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