Loco Maricon Amor: controversial, passionate.
The latest production by the Danger Ensemble lives up to the reputations of its subjects – artist, Salvador Dali and poet/ playwright and tortured homosexual Fredrico Garcia Lorca.
Dali and Lorca were possibly lovers and certainly passionately involved, and the rumour continues unsettled long after both of their deaths. The Danger Ensemble have taken a risk with this production but without risk, life is pretty boring and I’m sure the Ensemble are under no false impressions about the limited audience that this off beat work will attract. In any case, how could you stand in front of the ghost of Dali, unarguably the most talented and oddball artist of all time and decide how to portray him on stage – a three act drama just wouldn’t do.
Steven Mitchell Wright’s production design is reminiscent of the likes of Jean Paul Goude and the theatre of haute-couture runway shows. On entering the theatre we were confronted with a stark white minimalist stage installed with four black-clad, avant-garde styled entities, frozen in a time tableau. Lorca stands, in a black dress with sensible low black heels (possibly a reference to his play Yerma) and strums one note incessantly.
Thomas Hutchins is absolutely mesmerising as Lorca, with striking eyes and an eerie stage presence. After a song, the production spirals into a writhing exploration of the surrealist mind (Chris Beckey is delightful as Dali), of Lorca’s passion, beauty and poetry and Dali’s eccentric hang-ups and utter attachment to his muse and wife, Gala. Lorca’s poetry and quotes from Dali form the basis of the text used throughout the show and Lorca, Dali and Gala, are teased along by three mysterious entities – somewhere between the chorus of a Greek tragedy and Shakespeare’s witches – they are meaningful and ridiculous at the same time.
At an hour and half, the show runs too long and the repetition becomes a little tiring. It must have been a marathon effort for the cast to keep up the pace for such a long period of physical activity and their staying power was very impressive. There’s a lot to like about this production but, perhaps a vigorous edit is in order or relocation from the traditional theatre space to a venue that supports its quirky game as this obviously isn’t your usual theatre piece, yet it is presented like one.
Loco Maricon Amor demonstrates the beauty of the Independents series; it’s a safe haven for diversity and a welcoming way for audiences to safely dip their toes into all sides of the entertainment spectrum. I still think that the Independents are one of the best priced evenings out in Brisbane. Showing until September 1 at the Sue Benner Theatre, Metro Arts, the last in the Independents series for 2012.