Thursday 27 September 2018

Deadweight. - Melbourne Fringe Festival review

The first thing you notice when walking into Deadweight. is the 6x6 pit of dirt that is set up. Then you see the bodies lying on the dirt. Despite their fatigued state, the struggle has only just begun. Using the story of Atlas, a Titan condemned to hold up the sky for eternity as a premise for the show, Rough Conduct's production explores of the impact of carrying on to burdens and emotional baggage and what happens when we release them. 

The cast in this show - Darcy Joyce Mcgaw, Chelsea Crosby, Jarryd Evison-Rose, Kyle Wright and Sarah Hartnell - literally thrown themselves into this performance with the physical demands met with vigour and passion. They wrestle, they drop, they fling themselves and they fly through the air. Combined with the feelings their actions convey, it is the complete representation of what it can be like to be unable to let go of the things that weigh us down: heart racing, constant exhaustion and extreme pain.
Their outfits resemble the dirt-filled hessian sacks that they carry for most of the performance, and that also hang from the ceiling. Just like the bags, a piece of rope is tied around their waists, trying to conceal what is inside them. They are torn, hanging loosely over the bodies. They are physically and emotionally breaking down. 

Set, sound and lighting all work together, creating stirring images in your mind. The sound and music results in an evocative atmosphere of om mantras and of being alone and uncertain. The lighting adds shadows and depth to the space, building on this idea of isolation. And then there's the pit of dirt which grounds the entire production and of connecting with nature. It is used to fill the hessian bags and to bury things and dig things up from. It creates a moving contrast of this dirt being something that prevents us from moving on but also as something that helps us move on. 

Rough Conduct have crafted a compelling piece of theatre that is intelligent and emotive in how it approaches its topic. Through their fervent performances and well-conceived design elements, it is impossible to not be enveloped by Deadweight.. When the lights eventually go up, you realise how intense the performance is when you let out that deep breath you've been holding in. It’s a release that needed to be set free. 

Deadweight. was performed at Theatre Works between 25 -  27 September 2018.

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