Thursday, 21 September 2000

Bang! A Critical Fiction! Sept 21, 2000

by Margaret Cameron
at La Mama until October 1, 2000
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

There is humour and anguish in  Margaret Cameron's eyes. Emotion is etched in her expressive face. Bang! A Critical Fiction! is the latest manifestation of her superbly crafted and idiosyncratic style of solo performance seen in such pieces as Knowledge and Melancholy.

Cameron, winner of  a Green Room and other awards, is magnetic yet again. Her performance and writing tilt from the hilarity of the opening dialogue to poignant, sometimes wrenching despair. It is sheer beauty to witness such skill and whimsy on stage.

Bang! is not a narrative-based show. Cameron investigates notions of "rectification" of the self,  the search for the missing parts of self which can unify the spirit. She  explores the loss of a loved one and the quest for wholeness and healing.

It may sound esoteric but it accessible, witty and intelligent. Cameron presents the entire piece in an achingly funny Texan character with a brassy accent, black cowboy hat, spiffy jacket and boots. She teases us with cheeky jibes in which we see the performer peeping out of the character.

"I've been doin' some thinkin' and I've been havin' me some creative ideas.," which we see soon after.

She plays with objects: a perky little chest of drawers filled with light, a lit cracker, a cap gun and a box of throw-downs - things that go Bang!

She controls her own technology, a recalcitrant CD player. When a few technical hiccups are ironed out, the lyrical quality  of the piece will flow.

The music is an eclectic selection of country tunes and evocative romantic melodies  and tosses in quirky sound tracks such as The X Files music or David Bowie's Major Tom for good measure.

The sound switches on and off as Cameron flicks the remote blithely over her shoulder at the CD player. She rides the little chest of drawers like a bronco or jives to the beat, challenging us with her eyes.

Cameron balances text with movement, humour with the poetic, the banal with the philosophical and the personal with the universal.

She creates metaphors for human experience. Crackers explode just as love and life explode us into pieces. We can only hope that we can put ourselves back together again in a package that can still function.

By Kate Herbert

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