Monday 14 August 2023

NO FORMER PERFORMER HAS PERFORMED THIS PERFORMANCE BEFORE #8 - Theatre Review

WHAT: No Former Performer Has Performed This Performance Before #8
WHEN: 10 - 19 August 2023
WHERE: Theatre Works (Acland St)
PERFORMED BY: Carolyn Hanna, Michael Havir, and Penny Baron 
LIGHTING BY: Bronwyn Pringle
VISUAL DRAMATURG BY: Dagmara Gieysztor 

Michael Havir and Carolyn Hanna - Photo by Dagmara Gieysztor

NFTs are all the rage now in our digital economy. One single digital art work purchased and stored in your block chain to be enjoyed at your private leisure. No Former Performer Has Performed This Performance Before #8, currently playing at Theatre Works, gives you that thrill of having an experience nobody other than the rest of the audience on your night of viewing will ever see. Every night is a new experience. It is exclusive and it is yours.

The members of Born In A Taxi had an idea in 2015. Working with Andrew Morrish, the team decided to create an annual program of improvised performance until one of them dies. That sounds a bit macabre, but the journey for the performers and the audiences following along must be so incredible!

Penny Baron and Carolyn Hanna are physical theatre specialists and Michael Havir is a composer who, in No Former Performer, responds and offers in real time with the actors. He is on stage with them, whilst in the background Dagmara Gieysztor (visual dramaturg) and Bronwyn Pringle (Lighting Designer and Operator) work their special brands of improvisational magic. The aural, textural, and optical architecture shifts and changes, forcing the actors to respond as they writhe and patter their way through intellectual concepts, emotional lability, and an ever-changing environment.

You might think this is a recipe for chaos, but this ensemble know what they are doing. You can tell from the moment they step on stage that, whilst they are exploring what the performance of the night will end up being, these theatre makers are masters of their craft and wherever they end up taking the show, it will be intriguing, exciting, and extremely entertaining. 

Gieysztor and Pringle are newer to the team and perhaps a bit timid in their roles at the moment. My biggest hope is that they will gain the confidence to be a bit more overt in their offers and interventions. It is hard for production people to break down the training of being invisible but it is necessary in No Former Performer. This show demands participation and is stronger in those moments of bravery and interaction. 

I reckon if Tamara Saulwick and Ridiculusmus had a baby, it would be No Former Performer Has Performed This Performance Before #8. It is exciting to go and see a show not knowing what that show will be and this show delivers on all counts. It has mastery, humour, anticipation, heart, and a guaranteed time limit of 50 minutes. What more could you ask for? And you can go back night after night at half price to see what the team create next! 

4.5 Stars


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