BWW Review: ADELAIDE FESTIVAL 2020: THE ARTIST at Main Theatre, AC Arts

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BWW Review: ADELAIDE FESTIVAL 2020: THE ARTIST at Main Theatre, AC ArtsReviewed by Barry Lenny, Tuesday 10th March 2020.

The Artist is irritated by a dripping leak in the roof, and his entire studio seems to be against him. His almost wordless attempts to overcome his difficulties keep the audience laughing and giggling in this fun performance, and it is suitable for all of the family. The youngest members of the audience, in particular, clearly loved every moment of it.

Directed by Sanna Silvennoinen, The Artist is performed by New Zealand born Thom Monckton, who trained in France and now lives in Helsinki, Finland. He is the artistic director of physical theatre group, Kallo Collective, and also performs with Circo Aereo, who produced this production and a previous award-winning work, The Pianist.

If you have ever tried to assemble flat-pack furniture, you are sure to laugh at the Artist's IKEA moment, as he ties to put together four interlocking pieces of timber to make a picture frame on which to stretch a canvas. With a bowl of fruit set up as the source for a planned still-life painting, he gets distracted. Who knew that fruit had its own language, and that bananas like to take a bath? You won't believe how difficult it can be to retrieve a jar full of paintbrushes from the top of a cabinet, especially with an uncooperative ladder. The quickest, easiest, and most obvious solutions simply do not seem to occur to the Artist, and his complicated, roundabout alternatives are hilarious.

Monckton has a cheeky grin, an expressive face, a twinkle in his eye, and gives every impression that he is made of India rubber. To say that he is flexible would be an incredible understatement and he uses his physical theatre, circus, mime, and clowning skills to great effect. The level of imagination exhibited in this production is immense.

The Artist is one big bundle of fun for all the family and, if you can still get a ticket, do so. It continues until Saturday.

Photography, Antti Saukko.

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