Review | Laura Money
Walking into The Blue room Theatre for My Shout, you could be forgiven for thinking you’d just gone into another room in the bar. The crew at Undercurrent Theatre Company have recreated the atmosphere of a bar perfectly – from the long high table, to the bar stools, and display of bottles reaching heady heights along the back wall the whole set evokes hazy pub life. Muted lighting by Adelaide Harney and the constant hum of music from David Stewart combines to plonk the audience right in the middle of a group of friends enjoying a bevvie or two. My Shout is an exploration of how the human experience is shared through alcohol and how alcohol and ritual combine to create that connection. It takes four performers and sees them through an afternoon/evening pastiche of previous drinking sessions and depictions of Australian drinking culture. Combining physical movement, music, and lived experience, the work is part homage and part criticism of that stalwart of Aussie life – a good old-fashioned drink.
Four performers, Claire Appleby, Scarlet Davis, Christopher Moro and Shaun Johnston share their lived experience and that of other devisors in a series of intense physical movement, mentored by Movement Consultant Emma Fishwick and spoken word that sometimes shares the frenzy of beat poetry and at others colloquial experiences that resonate through the crowd. Appleby confidently exudes her baller attitude when ritualising the getting ready segment of a night out – her excitement and body positivity extending to body autonomy in how far she will let herself go. It turns terrifying in a desperate search to fit in and get that next drink. Director Samuel Bruce turns the stage from familiar setting to bizzare parkour experience as characters topple tables, leap from stool to stool and see the furniture rear up in nightmarishly surreal sequences that put the beer goggles squarely on the audience’s eyes. Moro remains jovial throughout – the kind of friend who’s the first to get lit but then doesn’t deteriorate. He has a few moments of introspection where he questions the lack of passing on drinking culture from generation to generation – yet it somehow gets passed on.
Davis and Johnston are the two who really question what it’s all about – Davis acts as a fly on the wall, egging her peers on while not touching a drop. It’s an interesting take on the old addage – it’s not about drinking it’s about hanging out with your friends. Sadly, Davis is often left a step or two behind her mates and not enjoying herself as much. Johnston’s observations merge ideas of masculinity with alcohol as both an inhibitor and an enabler for male bonding. He sharply observes that drinking while watching the footy is highly superficial, causing him to go on a bit of a philosophical arc, questioning the point while also happy to keep drinking. Group dance/movement is eerily executed as synchronised moves ritualise the art of the pour, the repetitious movements becoming frenzied and dangerous to end doused in alcohol. My Shout is exactly what it says it is – their interpretation of drinking culture in Australia. It’s not an overly nuanced piece and seems to be more of a recreation of events than a deep-dive into the culture it’s examining but overall it’s a great new work from promising up and comers to the Perth scene – we’ll drink to that!
My Shout is on at the Blue Room Theatre until Saturday 18th September. Get your tickets HERE