FISH is yet another fabulous production by the Rollercoaster Theatre Company, a not-for-profit ensemble of trained actors with disabilities.
This play explores the perpetual state of fear that we live in as a society. The beautiful Melba Spiegeltent is transformed into a wonderfully strange maritime world where the inhabitants of a lighthouse observe the fear-instilled events that unfold around them.
There’s President Pump, who slowly takes charge and uses fear as a catalyst, yet he is scared himself. Scared of the unknown, of long beards, but most importantly of not having an audience. Other characters live in fear of being misunderstood, undervalued, some are simply afraid of spiders. Intermittently the actors break into song to the sound of classic seafaring instruments, an accordion setting the pace accompanied by guitar.
Key scenes transport the play into our homes: two actors sit in a boat come living room. They quickly change channel when news of Syria or North Korea are broadcast and routinely converse about their challenges at work. Thankfully The Bachelor comes on and saves them from the frightful chore of actually listening.
What makes this production such a success is the innocence and skill of the talented actors: their open faces stand in stark contrast to the play’s topics and render most of the discussed societal angst mundane:
‘What are you afraid of?
‘Of getting sick again.’
‘What are you afraid of?’
‘Of being alone.’
‘What are you afraid of?’
Maybe we are just afraid of being afraid.
At first glance the play is lighthearted, funny and playful. Yet on a deeper level the messaging is incredibly layered and director Maude Davey has done an exceptional job in helping each actor to play to their strength, whilst enhancing the complex themes addressed by ‘FISH’. Strange and wonderful moments of joy, awkwardness and some simply haunting musical renditions are brought to life by perfect lighting and the clever use of props and instruments. All this renders ‘FISH’ a great success, this production is not to be missed!
Claudia B. is a German/Kiwi graphic designer and illustrator who has been living and working in Melbourne for the last six years. She enjoys a good glass of scotch and the occasional pole dancing class. Claudia also helps donate proceeds from notthispussy.com.au to charities in support of women’s rights, refugees and climate change.
FISH runs 31 August-2 September 2017, at Melba Spiegeltent. Purchase tickets now.
The venue is wheelchair accessible.