Review: Invisible Things, Brisbane Powerhouse

Sally Peters

Alex Mizzen delivers a commanding circus dance theatre piece in Invisible Things, spellbinding the audience with her one-woman show.
Review: Invisible Things, Brisbane Powerhouse

Alex Mizzen in Invisible Things. Photo by Krystal Beazley.

The dedicated Brisbane artist, Alex Mizzen, engaged spectators with an intense work that embodied a psychoscape of emotionally charged human expression of self. With a background in circus, classical ballet and contemporary dance, Mizzen’s skill augmented this unique project with her dexterity, authentic genius and storytelling without words. This artistic creative work proved to be highly charged, and an intimate journey of the struggle of the psyche to find liberation from suffering of the invisible internal world.

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Before being guided into the space we were told we could move around the room at will, as there was no seating. This served the project well with the scattering of audience members around the edges of the space allowing for a more intimate immersive experience.

The atmosphere was compelling from the first moment. When entering the dark performance space, squared off as if a large room, the artist was subtlety backlit, striking an impressive form within a steel framed cube around three metres square, wrapped in clear plastic. White columns of light within the framework played an integral part to the enhancement of the scene. White fog filled the shape enhancing her profile entwined in an aerial silk.

Mizzen (Les 7 Doigts de la Main (CA), Company 2, La Soiree) frantically began writing on the plastic walls as if seeking answers. In a frenzy of writhing with her silk, dressed in black lace, she built the mental scape of torment and frustration in her movements. As the piece went on, her dexterity as a physical performer shone through. Backed by an ambient soundtrack that enveloped the auditorium with an empathic mood. The artist performed balances, cartwheels and other sensational acts of strength within the narrative, all the while keeping the audience entirely captivated. Symbolically stripping off parts of her garments as she worked, the artist became more agile as she did so. At times she moved the whole cube within the space, as the audience shuffled out of her way.

Alex Mizzen in Invisible Things. Photo by Krystal Beazley.

The dark poetic nature of the work gave way to a sensitive discovery of the light within. I loved the way Mizzen utilised lamps that gave grace to her dissolving the frustrations depicted earlier. Incredible acrodance and techniques, precision hand- balancing, one handed balancing and leg splits on three white cubes of various sizes, were slowly and gracefully executed.

Suddenly the room was switched to ultraviolet light, revealing graffiti all over the cube, evidence of the frustrated mental landscape of before. In an act of self-discovery the performer realised she could move outside the cube. Exalted, Mizzen then strapped herself to a holster and like a spider began destructing the whole set from above, quite violently, but with a sense of total liberation.

What an incredible scene! By the time she had finished, the whole place was stunned. Silence ensued, the audience eventually gave rise to a roar of appreciation.

Invisible Things is part of the Wonderland Festival and is a masterpiece, world class and unmissable. This extraordinary piece makes the invisible visible.

5 stars ★★★★★
Invisible Things
Creator/Performer: Alex Mizzen
Collaboratin Artist/Technical Design: Michael Maggs
Sound Design: Anna Whitaker
Dramaturgy: Kristian Santic
29 November – 2 December 2018
Stores Studio, Powerhouse Precinct, Brisbane

What the stars mean?
  • Five stars: Exceptional, unforgettable, a must see
  • Four and a half stars: Excellent, definitely worth seeing
  • Four stars: Accomplished and engrossing but not the best of its kind
  • Three and a half stars: Good, clever, well made, but not brilliant
  • Three stars: Solid, enjoyable, but unremarkable or flawed
  • Two and half stars: Neither good nor bad, just adequate
  • Two stars: Not without its moments, but ultimately unsuccessful
  • One star: Awful, to be avoided
  • Zero stars: Genuinely dreadful, bad on every level

About the author

Sally Peters is a freelance writer currently residing in Brisbane.