Retro Futurismus

Retro Futurismus
New World. Vaudeville. fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne. 6-31 July 2016.

The science fiction that inspires this show is generally dark and dystopian, however, the New World vision of the future is more cynical than bleak. This is a raucous exploration of the future that employs a vaudeville format to showcase an astonishing array of burlesque performances. The politically infused text has a cantankerous tone as it reflects on the current state of affairs and the seemingly ludicrous future that it is leading to.

This is all wonderfully and powerfully explored by surreal and absurd acts that defy both gravity and logic. The effect is frequently breathtaking, produced by radically inventive costume design and movement dynamics. The legendary physical theatre performers Anni and Maude Davey are the architects of this vision, and they are aided and abetted in complete harmony and synchrony by Anna Lamb (circus meets cyborg), Gabi Barton (slapstick dancenick) and Teresa Blake (post-human performance art).

Each act is performed in a bold and unapologetic manner while Blake is incredibly disarming in the quality and delivery of her performances.  Her work is extremely unique and creates a very fresh approach to theatrical presence.  The material in this show draws on a vast array of pop culture with often-incongruous, yet delightfully compatible combinations. This is a future that is well worth seeing and is as amusing as it is strange and frightening.

Patricia Di Risio

Image: Teresa Blake. Photographer: Ponch Hawkes.

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