31 January 2007

Maintenance eXplosives and Love (CMXL)

Maintenance eXplosives and Love (CMXL)
26 January 2007
Gasworks Arts Park

Just as one festival ends, another begins in Melbourne. Right now it’s fabulous Midsumma, Melbourne’s gay and lesbian festival. Its fringe style theatre program is small, but intriguing. A highlight is Car Maintenance eXplosives and Love (CMXL).

CMXL premiered in Melbourne in 1996 and has since travelled to the Adelaide Fringe, Sydney Mardi Gras and had seasons in Brisbane, Tasmania, London, Edinburgh and regional Britain. The 2006 version is dynamic and fresh and, unfortunately, most of the content is more relevant today than when it was written. Would someone choose to write about homemade explosives today?

Like all good scripts, CMXL is about sex, violence and relationships. What makes this script stand out from the rest is its focus on choice and opportunity. What do you do when your girlfriend and her mates pontificate about changing the world (and your house)? You could use your Box Hill TAFE education in explosives or you could resort to the same violence that was simply part of your life growing up. Or you could do nothing. Action or inaction? Will either resolve the problem?

It is written and performed by Donna Jackson. Donna is best known as the founder of the Women’s Circus in Footscray. Her irresistible performance combines circus, monologue, comedy and dance. With direct interaction, she completely draws the audience into her world. The love story becomes predictable at times, but is textured with enough surprises that it doesn’t matter.

Good choreography makes use of every part of the large stage and she combines circus skills seamlessly into her storytelling. One aerial rope sequences depicts the emotion of first seduction perfectly and beautifully. This is a script that knows when to tell a story and when to show us what the character is feeling.

CMXL is on at Gasworks Arts in Albert Park. Gasworks has quickly established itself as a festival venue. It is celebrating Midsumma by becoming a hub of bent arts activities, with a specific focus on lesbian performance. This is a venue that understands that theatre is more than just seeing a “play”. Head along for exhibitions, fun staff, cheap cocktails and a place to sit, chat, flirt, praise and deconstruct.

This review originally appeared on AussieTheatre.com.