10 October 2010

Review: Intimacy

MIAF 2010
Malthouse Theatre
Melbourne International Arts Festival
Ranters Theartre
7 October 2010
CUB Malthouse, Beckett Thearte
to 23 October

With so many international shows in town for the festival, it could be easy to miss the local shows in the MIAF program. If you're a local, book your tickets for Intimacy now to let the arty bliss continue post festival, and if you're visiting, consider forgoing the big stuff for this locally made perfect piece of imperfect life.

Ranters Theatre's Intimacy opens with actor Paul Lum telling us that he lives by St Kilda beach and one night went down to the streets and introduced himself to people because he wanted to talk. Playing with ideas of documentary and truth, director Adriano Cortese says that "the most interesting connections occur between people who don't know each other" and how it's sometimes easy to reveal your true self to a stranger.

These fascinating connections take place in Anna Tregloan's design of rocks in a blue curtained world that captures the feeling of sitting at St Kilda beach or on the rocks approaching Elwood (one of my favourite spots) without forcing the recognition of needing to know where these rocks are.

Lum sits and talks to people like roller coster–obsessed Russell, a street performing Bird Man and Tanya from Carnegie who can't sleep, all played by Patrick Moffat and Beth Buchanan. As each gently uncover the type of fears they would never reveal to friends and loved ones, the audience are drawn closer and closer to a too-familiar world of  hidden inner judgement. The intricate detail and of each story is so revealing that it's hard to imagine that it's not verbatim accounts of real meetings rather than a rigorously written, structured and rehearsed process.

For all its theatricality – including some of the best atrocious singing and dancing –  the Ranters style of performance is so intimate that its almost like eaves dropping. Raimondo Cortese's dialogue doesn't sound like learned lines or improvisation. It sounds like people talking, with all of our pauses and agreements that mean no more than we are still in the conversation or just letting the other person talk. It sounds so natural that its poetic.

As people talk, the others listen. It's rare to see actors really listen to each other on stage; listen to what the other is saying and meaning, not just listening for a cue. Some of the most beautiful moments were just watching these remarkable actors being silent.

When I saw Ranters Holiday in 2008, I didn't completely get what they were doing and felt like I was watching a curious process. But I was completely drawn into Intimacy because I could see me in this world of people that are nothing like me.

Ranters are now one of my favourites and how often do you leave a show thinking about the most extreme thing you've done for love, not worrying that everyone is judging everything about you or deciding to start masturbating with more heart and feeling.

This review appears on AussieTheatre.com

Photo by Jeff Busby

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, wasn't this just lovely? Quite startlingly naturalistic. Glad you liked it.