Saturday, 25 December 1993
Summer 1993-94 Shows: Icheka: Return of the Heathen/Take Me as I Am (Musical) Dec 25, 1993
Icheka: Return of the Heathen by Bad Lot Theatre Company
Take Me as I Am, with book by Patrick White and score by Marky Mark and Girlfriend
Dec 25, 1993
By Kate Herbert
Published in The Melbourne Times, Jan 1994
We are too often faced with politically incorrect theatre nowadays. Icheka: Return of the Heathen is a bi-lingual, bi-partisan, bisexual romp by Bad Lot Theatre Company who are renowned for their earnest commitment to devising sound political theatre in an avant-garde form.
Icheka is about a boy who runs away from his right-wing Canberra parents to join a circus. The narrative, by Faye Bunny, Binkata: Eyes of the Hunter was written after exhaustive research into families of politicians and circus performers. It is authentic and demanding for an audience, weaving together themes of dislocation, migration, separation, feminism and witchcraft.
The direction is masterly, integrating enormous puppets, latex masks and Indonesian shadow puppets, fire-eating and acrobatics with a powerful text in an eclectic soup of theatrical genres.
"Theatre must transform and transport its audience," says director Ben Leather-Jacket in his Fitzroy studio; and transport people he does. The whole performance takes place on the express train from Melbourne to Geelong. The sense of desolation is heightened by the oil refinery background to the final scenes - and also by the fact that the audience is now stranded in Geelong ‘City of Oil Refineries without a paddle or a return ticket.
Icheka is sensational theatrical experience. Take a blanket.
Meanwhile in a major musical venue, is a don't-miss, revamped musical: Take Me as I Am, with book by Patrick White and score by Marky Mark and Girlfriend. This is a playful look at disasters perpetrated by Australian Prime Ministers this century.
You will recognise tunes like Take Me Back to the March Election, sung_by John Hewson, the ever-popular Malcolm's Trousers, Hey Mama There's a War up North, Harold Forgot his Snorkel, and Paul Keating's new hit I'll see your Queen and Raise You a Republic plus more old faves.
Get amongst the revivals for summer before they go back to the dead.
KATE HERBERT 25.12.93