Monday, 17 May 2004

Gilgamesh by Uncle Semolina & Friends, May 17. 2004

by Uncle Semolina and Friends
Next Wave Festival
Federation Square car park, in a shipping container, 17 to 29 May, 2004
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Put a superhero action movie in a blender with grunge music, a bunch of toys and eight-year old boys' games in a muddy playground and you have Gilgamesh.

Christian Leavesley's production digs up the ancient Sumerian myth of the tyrannical ruler, Gilgamesh, (Richard Pyros) and gives it a thoroughly modern treatment.

It takes place inside a 40 foot shipping container nestled on the top floor of the Federation Square carpark.

The performance end of the container is filled with real dirt and the three actors are smeared in sweat and mud after the hour is over.

The Gods seek to balance Gilgamesh's brutal domination of his world.

They model from clay, Enkidu, (Mark Tregonning) a man who becomes Gligamesh's rival and eventually, his comrade in a litany of reckless and dangerous adventures.

Their antics are violent, macho and blasphemous. They even kill the Bull of Heaven sent by Ishtar (Katherine Tonkin) which action leads to Enkidu's demise.

What makes the show such good entertainment is the interplay of childhood rough-house games and toys with the physical live action of the actors.

Action hero dolls about ten centimetres high represent both Gilgamesh and Enkidu.

The battle between the two superheroes is fought both in the flesh and between the dolls.

At times, it is like two eight-year old boys scrapping in the schoolyard unaware of the filth they wear home for mum to wash.

The eclectic mix uses matchbox cars, plastic chain saw,  even a barbie doll as a goddess.

It uses hip hop, a gospel tune and references World Championship Wrestling, Sci-Fi movies, Marvel comics and contemporary theatrical conventions.

The three actors are skilful and work beautifully as a team.

The show is mostly a hoot and very entertaining but it also has some moments of strange beauty such as when Gilgamesh's mother's lament  (Tonkin).

By the last fifteen minutes the pace gets a little tired and the story wears thin as we watch Gilgamesh seeking immortality. The ending scenes need work.

This is a great opening show for the Next Wave Festival of Unpopular Culture. Funny how young people love doing things about dirt and perversity.

LOOK FOR: The dolls superheroes.

By Kate Herbert

No comments:

Post a Comment