Wednesday, 26 October 2005

Test Pattern by Angus Cerini , Oct 26, 2005

Test Pattern  by Angus Cerini 
by Platform Youth Theatre
Uniting Church Hall Northcote, Oct 26 to Nov  5, 2005
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Test Pattern is an abstract performance developed by the young artists of Platform Youth Theatre with writer, Angus Cerini and director, Nadja Kostich.

The script is non-linear and sometimes almost impenetrable but its convergence with the visual and physical layers of the performance is often compelling.

One significant element of the show is the set design by Marg Horwell. It is deceptively simple yet fascinating in the complex impact it has upon the huge, empty space of the church hall.

Rows of silken white fringe are suspended from ceiling to floor. We view the entire performance through these sheer, floating screens. Projected images (Michael Carmody) and snatches of dialogue shimmer and are refracted by the fringes and bounce off the rear wall.

Actors move through the fringing, along its corridors or run their fingers like children through them, disturbing their stillness.

All the performers are dressed in white slips, giving them all a fragile look.

The content is composed by Cerini from stories, real or imagines, from the young members of the company. Many are about death, trauma or illness. Some deal with more positive ideas about love, family or friends. As one actor says, It's really morbid".

Each of the cast, at one point lat ein the show, introduces him or herself with a brief personal story or reference to the process of developing the performance.

Kostich directs the group in a lyrical, movement-based form. Nothing is literal. Characters come and go. Dialogue is fractured and images drift in and out.

Richard Vabre's evocative lighting and the pulsing heartbeat sound design by Jethro Woodward create a further layer of complexity in this fresh, even raw, production.

By Kate Herbert

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