Electric Loneliness

Electric Loneliness
Presented by Night Creatures. fortyfivedownstairs theatre, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne. 29 April – 1 May 2021.

Performers Alexandra Aldrich and Joachim Coghlan, along with accompanist Owen James, create a unique and stunning show. The meticulous approach to character and ambience is striking and always delightful. Despite the quirky and dark content of the show the performance maintains a lightness and humour that exhibits an incredible command of tone and register.

The minimal set proves rich in its ability to create a highly stimulating underwater mise-en-scene. The manner in which this environment is powerfully portrayed is one of the many strengths of this show. The costuming and the staging are refined and delicate, continually offering new and surprising elements. This is all crafted and delivered in a very subtle manner yet a strong sense of both flair and panache is also exhibited.

Aldrich embodies the Lonely Woman, a multi-limbed chanteuse who finds herself trapped in an ethereal sphere of the ocean, with style and finesse. This is combined with an impeccable and exact use of facial expressions which makes her persona simply exquisite. Coghlan portrays the Lonely Man with equal charm and fascination. His gentleness is indulged in his predilection for floral arrangements and fantastical sea creatures which highlights the tenderness of his character. 

James provides a beautiful and mystical musical accompaniment whilst also contributing moments of pure comic genius, animating the aquatic world with vibrancy and colour. The vocal ability of the performers is incredibly impressive and deeply emotional. The highly idiosyncratic atmosphere created in this production is always eerie, and sometimes even disconcerting, but never dismal. The loneliness conveyed by the characterisations is profound, yet their journey is always inviting and beguiling. 

This is a highly original combination of theatre and musical performance that effectively brings magical realism to life right before your eyes.

Patricia Di Risio 

Photographer: Jack Dixon-Gunn

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