Kicking round the local theatre scene and treading the boards both locally and further afield for around a decade, Elbow Room have once again delivered a potent work, dripping with their trademark darwinistic style. Niche bridges such far divides as our evolution from primate to man to now, where in an almost canabilistic fashion we seek out, hunt and consume the popular culture corporations feed us and is sought through social media feeds.
It’s fanciful stuff, sometimes dwelling that moment to long on a single point of contention, to only, secondly laters break into the most extravagant musical interludes that would make even the most seasoned drag queen moist at the crutch.
The music plays a huge part in this performance, the creative love child of Eryn Jean Norvill, Marcel Dorney and Robin Waters. If ever their careers in theatre fail (which is not at all likely), they could easily break out into the world of popular music and production- move over Gaga.
A two hander, with the performances of Emily Tomlins and Erym Jean Norvill impressive particularly in final scenes where the power play between these two woman channels just a little Baby Jane. The on stage action is constantly disrupted by projections of both actresses, taking on roles that in direct response challenge, mimic and criticise the Australian identity for want of a better definition. These mise en scènes providing a much need comedic antidote;
Lighting is used effectively, however the production team may have spent more time assessing how the performance, and it set respond to and sits within in space. Site lines, here are an unfortunate issue.
For all the glitter, the performance does perhaps reach an uneasy and to early crescendo, with final scenes missing several exits off this freeway of cataclysmic exploitation it. But not with standing, the proceeding fifty minutes of theatre is well worth the ticket price.
I first discovered the work of Elbow Room nine years ago, then presenting upstairs at the Lithuanian Club in North Melbourne, as part of Melbourne Fringe. After what has been close enough to a decade, to now reconnect with this company, has been a privilege, and stands as an example of the strength, resilience and talent present here in Melbourne. They may be continuing to reach maturity and the depth that other contemporaries have reached, but this work is certainly a step in the right direction and they are damn close to delivering us a knock out performance.
You will walk away from this one, barely able to register what has just transpired, in the most beautiful way. With the banging soundtrack playing on loop inside your head for days to come. Niche plays Northcote Town Hall this week till Saturday, get on it folks.
For more info, or to book tickets click here