Saturday, 16 November 2019

Exit Strategies review

In Exit Strategies, Mish Grigor explores not only various ways of leaving but also the thinking and process behind this, such as when to leave and how to walk away from a situation. This world premiere, a collaboration with APHIDS co-directors Lara Thoms and Eugenia Lim, is an intimate performance that brings the audience into its absurd environment as we question our own philosophies and decisions around exiting.

These exits are comical in description and execution, such as Grigor’s reenactments of sneaking out of a yoga class, but they are often acknowledging a greater social or cultural observation. She has a natural charisma on stage, and it is entertaining to see how she will depart next. She finds the subtleties for each scenario and simultaneously plays it naturally and plays it big. There are some thought-provoking points raised but unfortunately there is not enough substance to sustain it and you wish the show would go further in what it is trying to say. The exits never amount to anything substantial and as it nears its own end, Grigor’s words fail to carry adequate weight or urgency to generate a lasting impact on the issues that are introduced.

The sound design by Nina Buchanan ensures a familiar score fills the room with each retreat but with distinct effects and music that suit the mood and setting of the scene. Based on the theory of the Circle of Fifths, the music is cyclical, going back to the beginning as Grigor resets and presents another example, highlighting the repetitive and constant nature of exits.

Grigor walks along a green fabric during her exits and the props that are scattered throughout the space are covered by green sheets. The nod to a green screen’s purpose in allowing a sequence to take place in front of it to then be transposed into a new location is utilised effectively, where even though these events occur in different settings, we still find ourselves exactly where we were a few seconds ago. This once more elicits the question of whether we can we ever really leave something or if moving on is just an illusion.

Exit Strategies may be a series of conclusions, exits and endings, but it is also an interesting look at privilege, displacement and belonging. While it doesn’t quite get to its destination, it is a solid starting point on examining what it means to leave, to change and to disappear. 

Venue: Arts House, 521 Queensberry St., North Melbourne 
Season:  Until 17 November | 7:30pm, Sun 5:00pm 
Tickets: $35 Full | $25 Conc / Students / Locals 
Bookings: Arts House 

Photo Credit: Bryony Jackson

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