Thursday, 22 July 1999

The Prima Facie Kid, July 22 1999

 written and performed by Angus Cerini
at La Mama until August 2, 1999
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Angus Cerini has an enormous power generator secreted somewhere in La Mama. He burn so much energy during his 70 minute solo show, The Prima Facie Kid, that on can almost see sparks fly from him.

This is the fourth in a series of short works Cerini has written and performed since 1997. The others are Recidivist, Dennis is Dead and F...wit. They all focus on issues of male violence, which Cerini believes must be addressed or rather confronted by his generation.

The Prima Facie Kid, directed by Karen Corbett, falls into two distinct parts. In the first, Cerini is an agitated clown who, we discover, entertains sick and dying children in hospital. He is driven by his quest to help the children forget their grief and pain. This character and his story make very moving theatre and could have successfully sustained the entire play.

However, he is so overwhelmed by his ongoing contact with such tragedy that he becomes the proverbial sad clown,  drunk clown, to be precise. Cerini's writing is a grab bag of hilarious dialogue, non-sequiturs, TV references, social commentary and naughtiness.

The clown remains pivotal in the second half and there are some fascinating ideas, allusions and characters but there is far less cohesion or clarity in the narrative. It is extremely confusing for this weary brain.

A powerful character is introduced as a story told by the clown. He is tattooed dad who murdered a child abuser. After this interlude, the clown is more wretched, drinker and the dialogue is interrupted by quick television news style grabs from a court case.

Cerini is a fine talent with exceptional energy and director Karen Corbett has kept the pace pumping and filled the space with emotional action. The play could benefit from the odd silence or stillness to accent the rest of this relentless toboggan ride but it is a potent piece with something to say.

Kate Herbert

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