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Skinflick: almost magic

Philipa Rothfield

Anna Tregloan’s remarkable Skinflick contains the gem of a design idea. On cue, the audience has to crawl underneath and into a set that consists of a floor 4 feet above ground level. We the audience sit underneath that floor with just our heads poking out, a series of runways enabling movement before our very eyes. Meantime fairy lights and music promise a magical experience. Working with light and darkness, and a range of costumes and props, a series of meditations occurs. The genre is physical theatre, along with some instances of the spoken word. Moving alongside a large carried mirror, a mutation of corporeal symmetry occurs. An old woman clones herself, hoping to escape the limits of mortality. Swings, furred feet, extreme poses and disguised bodies are moved into unusual shapings for unusual times. The sky opens and ping-pong balls poetically fall and fall like bouncy snowflakes.

There is a somewhat disjointed character to Skinflick, as if the sections were created independently of each other. There is also a sense that the chosen movements could be further developed with a view to the (kin)aesthetics of the piece. Overall, the design of the set and props has a consistency of wondrous creation that is not always reflected in the action. While the performers are skilful and interesting to watch, I'd like to see more of the initial magical promise come true.

Skinflick, direction & design Anna Tregloan, performers Cazerine Barry, Jody Farrugia & Vanessa Rowell, North Melbourne Town Hall, Melbourne, July 26-Aug 11

RealTime issue #45 Oct-Nov 2001 pg. web

© Philipa Rothfield; for permission to reproduce apply to [email protected]

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