THE BLUE ROOM THEATRE: Endlessly surprising and inventive, Nicola Gunn’s latest work is risky, edgy and yet comforting in a homemade, whimsical way.
Endlessly surprising and inventive, Nicola Gunn’s latest work is risky, edgy and yet comforting in a homemade, whimsical way.
Hello my name is treats Perth with its first run, and successfully brings a unique experience suited to adventurous audiences to the Blue Room Theatre. It’s an intimate performance experience that develops an original idea anew each night.
The heavy emphasis on the audience in this production means that any description of events experienced by this reviewer would not only entail spoilers, but would of necessity be strictly limited to a singular occurrence, so don’t expect to read specifics of the show’s content here. That said, part of the show’s magic was being left to discover your own part in the proceedings and to participate (or not – audience members are not pressured to perform or forced into the spotlight) as you saw fit… thereby affecting the experience for everyone else.
Audience participation hijinks aside, Gunn deftly developed a subtle storyline, bringing various characters to life and teasing with emotionally laden incidental storytelling. Using anecdote sharing techniques drawn from daily life, she invested the everyday quality of her characters’ travails with a truly touching poignancy.
Apart from spontaneous moments of creative joy from audience participants, the highlight of the performance was Gunn’s excellence at taking the most mundane features of social interaction and turning them into treats. The progressive development of her main character was consistent and crept up in gradual stages, and her side characters (often embodied in audience members by proxy) were charmingly well-considered. Imagination and empathy were the order of the day, and Gunn displayed her deep and wide-ranging ability to convince and entertain even given the extremely close and dynamic interaction between actor and audience.
Stage props were perfectly prepared and cunningly inventive, and totally immersed us in the scene, enabling surprisingly natural interactions and flow. Technical support was unobtrusive apart from moments where the low-tech nature of the lighting or sound was a feature of the activity.
Far from conventional theatre fare, Hello my name is is liable to leave some scratching their heads, but is a memorably delightful outing for those entering with adventure in their hearts.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Hello my name is
Presented by Nicola Gunn in association with Theatre Works
Conceived, directed and performed by Nicola Gunn
Co-created by Carlee Mellow
Dramaturgy by David Woods
Sound design by Luke Paulding
Lighting design by Gwen Holmberg-Gilchrist
The Blue Room Theatre, Northbridge
June 12 - 30