Homme is a concept that appeals to me. Satire, the mundane, and subverting hetero-normative masculinity are a few of my favourite things. Naturally, I was excited to hear that Matthew Adley had blended all of these concepts (and then some) together in a performative piece about the modern Australian male. After seeing the show, however, I can’t help but feel that something was lost in translation.
The space had interesting potential. As we filed into the large room our path was obstructed by a large podium, which immediately and dramatically diverted us to the sidelines. To one side of the room was a large front loader. One net filled with black balloons hung from the ceiling, while another sat to the side. Two figures dressed all in black, a man and a woman, stood in the centre.
I also have to credit the show with the interesting and superbly physical ways in which the performers manipulated their bodies. Difficult and yet ultimately pointless tasks became a point of fascination. There were times when I felt as though I’d burst out in giggles due to the sheer bizarreness of what was playing out in front of me. Those were some of the better moments.
Most of the show, however, failed at holding the tension it was aiming for. Long, statuesque silences became distracting, and I often found myself observing the audience instead. The performance felt as though it dragged on too long, which was remarkable given that it actually undershot its allotted time by close to half an hour.
Perhaps the show did say something about contemporary masculinity, although what that was I couldn’t tell you. And given some obvious gaps in the performance, I feel as though the performers didn’t quite say all they wanted to either. At risk of being one of those people who just “didn’t get it”, this performance fell short of the mark for me.
Emma is an avid reader, writer, and teller of tall tales. Her hobbies include petting dogs and sipping red wine; ideally at the same time.
Homme is playing at The Northcote Town Hall until Saturday 3 October. The venue is wheelchair accessible.