A Dingo Ate My Baby / Small Brown Supporting Role
This distinctly contrasting double-bill staged as part of Frisk, a festival of new performance works cocooned within Melbourne’s Fringe Festival, showcases some of the emerging talent of the VCA.
Louisa Wall single-handedly takes on the hefty subject of women’s fertility via several personas in A Dingo Ate My Baby, deftly incorporating tap dancing, solo clarinet, song, keyboard and electronic looping techniques with great effect. The style is pleasing in its wildly loopy delivery, quirky costume changes behind a resident bush, and highly organised manipulation of many and varied elements.
While the concluding minutes would benefit from some tightening, and the placement of the baby-names song struggled for relevance, Ms Wall’s coverage of the breadth of the subject is fearlessly fresh and frequently fun, with regular laugh-out-loud moments.
After a short break the audience is confronted with Small Brown Supporting Role, an uncomfortably comprehensive attack on racial hierarchy and stereotypes devised and performed by Nisha Joseph and Tenielle Thompson.
Using televised game-show milieu, this diatribe begins with contemporary everyday contexts, but does not spare its own arena, requiring answers to questions such as, Name just one Indian actor? Name one Australian actor of colour who has been employed internationally? How did you go with your answers?
This is a serious diatribe, passionately delivered, and with more gasps than laughs. Perhaps, with something of a jolt, audience members may reflect on their own ability to answer the questions.
Images: (top) A Dingo Ate My Baby and (lower) Small Brown Supporting Role. Photographer: Drew Echberg.