30 September 2006

Penny Machinations

Penny Machinations
interior theatre
30 September 2006
Fringe Festival Club, Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall

Grab your spare coins and head to the Fringe club for Penny Machinations. At $2, it’s cheaper than a beer. But, be warned, one show is not enough and you might find yourself scouring your pockets for enough change to get another hit.

Penny Machinations deservedly won the “Outstanding Special Event” award at the 2005 Melbourne Fringe. Back with new shows, the North Melbourne Town Hall stage has been transformed into an inviting pastel sideshow alley, with an array of mysterious private-viewing tents.

What I love about this Fringe is that so many companies are making theatre an active experience. It’s not just sitting in a dark room and watching. The Penny Machinations experience is about facing the unknown and the intimacy of voyeurism. The maximum audience is three. You cannot be passive and you have to make some choices.

Developed by Telia Nevile and Matt Kelly, Penny Machinations is a unique and clever concept that takes the sideshow alley to a much more interesting level. There are no freaks (well, not too many) and no short, boring narratives. Shows are impressions of experiences - kind of an intimate surrealism.

Friday and Saturday nights have different programs and no show is ever the same. If you don’t like your first choice, it's only $2 for another one. The spruikers can guide you– let them know if you’re in mood for drama, comedy, dance or simply the shortest queue. You may be in one of the sideshow tents, find yourself wandering the Town Hall or even get a ride in the Barina of Mystery (chose the Director’s Commentary version).

The arcade is open from 8pm to 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays. It’s is a perfect way to use your in between show time, or better still – take along $20 and spend a couple of hours experiencing all of the unknown and unique delights of Penny Machinations.

This review originally appeared on AussieTheatre.com.

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