Monday 19 September 2016

Dion - Melbourne Fringe Festival review

Dion. Oh Dion. Why'd you go and break my heart? That's what writer/director Davina Wright explores in the new immersive piece by Gold Satino for Melbourne Fringe Festival, aptly titled Dion. It's business as usual here, as three audience members jump in the back of the Honda Jazz and are driven around the outskirts of North Melbourne in what can be called an epic "fuck off" homage to exes. 

What I really enjoyed throughout Dion is the juxtaposition of being connected with the show yet witnessing distant and detached vignettes. The performers (Tamiah Bantum, Ross de Winter, Lachlan McColl, Cazz Bainbridge, Xavier O'Shanessy and Wright) all exude this feeling that they are living in their own world and generally void of any emotion but the connectivity felt with the subject and the scenes that play out paint a completely different picture. The exploration of first kisses, last kisses, fleeting moments, broken hearts and heartache; they are all experiences we've had and something we can all relate to.

The beauty of Gold Satino productions is that all scenes are open to interpretation: you give meaning and value to what you are seeing. Who these people are, where they have come from, where will they go? - it all depends on what you want to happen and how you choose to seen it. 

As you keep an eye out for what is part of the show, you begin to notice a lot more people out in the streets that could easily be in the world of Dion. One particular example in last night's drive is the elderly couple out walking their two dogs, which forms a comforting contrast to the sadness Dion is exploring. 

The show runs on a very tight schedule, timed to the second no doubt and from an audience perspective, there is not a single glitch. Speculating on the logistics of how the performers manage to get around so quickly and be in the scene before the Jazz even approaches is like guessing how David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty disappear. 

The sound design by Tom Davies is a balanced mix of love anthems such as Billy Ocean's “Love Really Hurts Without You” and a soundscape that captures the moods of scenes perfectly, such as the ocean sounds we hear as we witness one performer crying alone in their car. 

It's a shame that the opportunity of seeing Dion is limited to three people per show (and is now a sold out season at that) as Gold Satino is a company pruducing performance works that more people should be seeing. But perhaps that's part of the plan. If everyone got to see what happens behind closed doors or in the dark alleys, would the emotive and evocative insight that Dion offers be as effective? 

Click here to read my interview with writer/director of Dion, Davina Wright.

Venue: Fringe Hub steps - Arts House, 521 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne, 3051
eason: until 1 October | Tues - Sat 7pm, 8pm, 9pm, 10pm
Length: 60 minutes

Tickets: $31 Full | $25 Conc | $21 Cheap Tuesday
Bookings: MelbourneFringe Festival

* Original review appeared on TheatrePress on 18 September 2016.

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