...him

Devon Cartwright

Enter the world of a recluse who lives obsessively through his only connection with the outside world – the daily newspaper.
...him

Amid piles of newspapers, and selected clippings strewn across the floor, the walls, ceiling, door, and window, in a space that's dimly lit and intimate – albeit with uncomfortable seating –  is where the audience will find ...him. This production is as much experience as it is performance; audience members will be brought into the twisted world of a man totally detached from reality, with the sole exception being the newspapers being delivered through the mail slot in his door. But as the performance progresses, the audience may find themselves asking whether they are viewing the internal struggle of a man dealing with deeper issues, or a reflection of our own selves trapped in a world governed by society.

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New Zealander Barnie Duncan has created an unusual yet intriguing piece of art that is somewhat unpleasant in a refreshing way, and yet able to draw in the audience with subtlety and the fine details of everything the actor gives the audience, in a way liberating them from their own troubles as they attempt to understand what it is to be in this man's world. Duncan's stroke of brilliance is perhaps his utilisation of the newspapers as inspiration to pull from, allowing each performance to be different and unique each time as news unfolds with time. This performance is a living, thriving piece of art that breaths life, and reflects what is going on in the world.

Building on successful runs Melbourne, Auckland, and Adelaide, director Geoff Pinfield has delivered another wonderful iteration of this production tucked away in a quiet corner of Brisbane's Powerhouse. Pinfield has crafted a sense of disorder, while focusing greatly upon the finest of details that draw the audience in; his ability to create a world in which the audience is unsure if they are looking in, or alternatively inside looking out is a testament to his and Duncan's vision.

Overall, ...him is a fresh telling of one man's life, and while only being roughly an hour in length, it does well to deliver its message. However, due to the nature of the performance, seating is a literal numbing pain as it involves sitting on newspaper covered blocks, which may prevent some members of the audience enjoying to its fullest extent. Nonetheless, ...him will more than likely leave audience members reflecting not only on the performance, but on their own lives as well.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

...him
Created by Barnie Duncan
Director: Geoff Pinfield
Musical Composition: Beatrice
Produced by Peta Spurling-Brown

Presented by Brisbane Powerhouse and Theatre Beating
Halfway (Park Mezzanine), Brisbane Powerhouse
16 – 20 December 2015

About the author

Devon is a freelance theatre critic, director, and event manager based in Melbourne with network connections in Brisbane and Sydney, as well as internationally across Canada, the US, and Europe. He holds an Advanced Diploma in Music Theatre Performance from St Clair College in Windsor Canada, and a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Studies from the Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Drama in London UK; in addition to this, he studied on exchange with the University of Windsor (Communications, Media & Film) and Griffith University (Contemporary & Applied Theatre). Devon has been involved in the operations of venues across Australia including the Brisbane Powerhouse, Redland Performing Arts Centre in Queensland, Gasworks Arts Park in Melbourne, and most notably with Cirque du Soleil during their 2016-2017 Australian tour of Kooza.