Review: Man With The Iron Neck, Brisbane Festival (preview performance).
In the antechamber of the Brisbane Powerhouse, the admirers is greeted by a account from co-creators Ursula Yovich and Josh Bond: “This story. Not atramentous but white as well. To accessible up a chat and appear out the added ancillary together.”
Legs On The Wall’s Man With The Iron Neck deals with the important but anathema affair of adolescence suicide, decidedly in the Indigenous community. With a calligraphy by Ursula Yovich alternating amid naturalistic chat and anapestic monologues, beauteous beheld architecture by Joey Ruigrok, Matt Marshall, Emma Vine and Sam James, and extraoardinary concrete performances by the casting (Ursula Yovich as Mum Rose, Kyle Shilling as Bear, Tibian Wyles as best acquaintance Ash, and Caleena Sansbury as Evelyn), this allotment gives the admirers 80 account of gripping, against and affective concrete theatre at its best.
Before the allotment began, Uncle Stephen Coghill Senior, of the Jagera people, gave a Welcome to Country speaking of reconciliation. As the achievement deals with actual acute issues, Legs on the Bank Theatre accept provided a ambit of abutment abstracts for the audience, including a album for claimed absorption on the capacity of the allotment and counselling on duke if needed. A firepit was additionally planned to accredit audiences to bake their own offerings in a allegorical ritual of “letting go”. This assignment spans abundant added broadly than what is actuality presented on date and the company’s charge to aperture a chat about suicide is tangible.
One of the best arresting appearance of this assembly is Sam James’ beauteous use of accurate video bump on the arced aback wall, anon creating a faculty of abode as able-bodied as absorption the character’s close thoughts with evocative and sometimes advancing imagery. The acquaintance of the Australian backcountry engulfs the activity and draws the admirers into the apple of the play.
One of my apropos with concrete theatre, at times, is that the concrete elements can outweigh the affecting elements. Man With The Iron Neck, however, seamlessly interweaves amazing aeriform and concrete assignment with a beautifully accounting narrative. In an account about the piece, Ursula Yovich states, “This is not aloof a kitchen table drama. This is a assignment of scale.” It is the concrete elements that transcend the calm scenes.
Yovich’s affective address about giving bearing to twins Bear and Evelyn is breathtakingly amplified by an aeriform ballet performed by Kyle Shilling and Caleena Sansbury. The iconic Australian Hill’s Hoist is acclimated throughout the assignment as a blazon of aeriform trapeze; aboriginal as Bear relives the abhorrence of his own father’s suicide and after as Ash spins into a cyclonic circle in the deathwatch of Bear’s suicide.
Australian Rules Football is both the saviour and boner of these characters. Abundant of the humour and activity of the allotment comes from the family’s amusement of abundant football moments, tagging cogent Indigenous footballers such as Adam Goodes, Buddy Franklin and Daniel Rioli. The tragedy in the story, however, starts with Bear’s acknowledgment to a ancestral accusation on the field, with absolute advertence to the acclaimed adventure involving Adam Goodes in 2013, in which a 13 year old adherent alleged the footballer an “ape” on the field.
The able chat that follows explores the account of assimilation and accepting to “pretend to be article you’re not”.
The delineation of affliction and answerability in this assignment is heart-wrenching. Yovich is actually swallowed by the couch in her Valium brume into a daydream apple of suicide, layered with images of celebrated Indigenous oppression.
Sansbury’s Evelyn struggles to address her brother’s eulogy: “How can I leave annihilation out? He was added than that.” Wyles repeats the adventure of “The Abundant Peters”, an aboriginal 20th Century bazaar brilliant who defied afterlife as his own arresting mechanism, anniversary time layering added advice about his friend’s suicide until assuredly asking, “Why did you do it, Bear?”.
Despite a few rogue microphone crackles in this performance, the complete architecture by Michael Toisuta and Jed Silver cautiously balances naturalistic accent with an evocative soundtrack (composed by Iain Grandage and Steve Francis) while additionally accouterment an abundantly memorable moment as Evelyn tries to chop bottomward the timberline amenable for the afterlife of her ancestor and brother while agreeable “I’m here, Mum. I’m still here”.
Hope comes at the end of the allotment back Ash asks Mum Rose how she coped with her husband’s suicide. Her simple acknowledgment is “Every day I had to accept whether to accord up or aloof accumulate going.” Ash absolution go of his affliction leads to an amazing moment as Bear apace flies into the rafters of the theatre. Although the allegory of the morning brilliant feels a little rushed, the final angel of the night sky and Ash’s aural breathe is a applicable conclusion.
The basal apriorism that “physicality takes over back the words are not enough” is explored to its abounding admeasurement in Man With The Iron Neck and at the cessation of this examination achievement the casting and riggers accustomed a well-earned continuing ovation.
Man With The Iron Neck is actuality staged as allotment of the Brisbane Festival until September 29.
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