Sunday, 10 July 2016

Come Away with Me to the End of the World, July 7, 2016 ****

Devised by Ranters Theatre, text by Heather Bolton, Beth Buchanan, Adriano Cortese, Raimondo Cortese, Patrick Moffatt, Malthouse Theatre 
Beckett Theatre, Malthouse until July 24, 2016 
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on July 7, 2016. 
Stars: ****
Review also published in Herald Sun Arts in print (possibly Sun July 10 or Mon 11) &/or online. KH

Patrick Moffatt, Beth Buchanan & Heather Bolton_photo Pia Johnson
 Do not expect dramatic tension, suspense or heightened acting in this production because Come Away with Me to the End of the World is just not that sort of show.

Ranters Theatre’s latest production is finely wrought, gentle storytelling by three performers (Heather Bolton, Beth Buchanan, Patrick Moffatt) in a relaxed, mesmerising and, sometimes, hilarious series of anecdotes, conversations, songs and even a spirited, Sicilian tarantella dance.

The trio strips away any capital A “Acting” to commune with each other and the audience, meeting each random thought, observation, dream or memory with acceptance, delight or bemusement, but never with criticism.

The audience eavesdrops on, and peers at this quiet journey that takes us to a flat beach or a park, a dense forest filled with warbling, magpie birdsong and, finally, to a campfire in a cold and snowy alpine location.

As in previous Ranters productions such as Holiday and Intimacy, there is no linear narrative because such structure is unnecessary and, in fact, would ruin this show that is simultaneously eccentric, unpredictable, intimate, charming, funny and bewildering.

The topics of the performers’ ruminations and meditations meander from sleep walking to breakfast in Berlin, loving cotton sheets and climbing walls, fears of impending mortality and the desire to fulfil one’s dreams.
Occasionally, they spontaneously erupt into song: an a cappella version of Offenbach’s Tender Night, O Lovely Night; a prettily harmonised madrigal; and, at the very end, Moffatt’s hilariously costumed, hearty and joyous rendition of Demis Roussos’ tune, End of the World, that echoes the show’s title.
The stage is a rehearsal room and the performers establish their dream worlds using cardboard cut-out mountains, artificial rocks, a campfire with fake flames, idiotic, leafy tree costumes and a tiny volcano that recalls a child’s science experiment.
Come Away With Me to the End of the World is inexplicable and deliciously gleeful. It is voyeurism at its most entertaining, joyous and unthreatening. It is a relief to feel so free, open-mouthed and childlike in the theatre.
Thank you again, Ranters.
By Kate Herbert

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