Review by Laura Money
IntotheMask Theatre returns to Perth FRINGEWORLD bringing its unique revival of Commedia dell’arte – masked theatre that has a long tradition, going back to ancient Greece and medieval Italy – into the modern world in a quirky twist on a classic tale of loyalty, betrayal, adventure, and intrigue.
The almost one-man show is brought to life by the immensely talented Shane McMullan. Playing several characters from cheeky rogue and thief, Jack, to a host of formidable giants, to bumbling lawmen and everything in between, McMullan truly transforms his body and voice to create these unique and memorable cast.
Loosely based on the story from your childhood – but certainly not how you remember it, Frenchman Jack takes you on a journey from executioner’s shackles to beanstalk, from ship-stealing to friendship forming, and betrayal. Jack is a charismatic, nonchalant thief who can charm you just as quickly as he can pick a lock – which he boastfully states is easy – you just have to wait for the click.
As McMullan switches between characters in an energetic dance, perfectly choreographed and hilariously rendered, he is accompanied by musician James Morrison, which leads to witty banter as each character reacts differently to the, at times, questionable sound effects. While some of the characters are created by McMullan’s superb acting and mannerisms alone, the giants of his fantasy land are represented by bespoke hand-crafted leather masks. They are beautiful and terrifying. McMullan breathes life into these stunning lovingly crafted pieces of art.
What Goes Up is a truly unique piece of theatre. It brings together the mythical elements of monsters and men. It takes you on a journey peppered with slapstick, comedy, and wit, and couples that with fearful moments, poignant questions of friendship and morals, and a terrifying parable of the fear mongering politicians engender when it comes to helping, hindering or lambasting asylum seekers.
This is perfectly charming theatre at its best, and certainly not to be missed!
When: 3 -8 February 2016 (10:45pm)
Where: The Stables, Cultural Centre, PERTH
Tickets: $15 – $20
Info: Duration 55 minutes, Suitable 15+
IntotheMask Theatre: http://www.intothemask.com/