Performance Anxiety

Performance Anxiety Brian Lucas

Performance Anxiety

Brian Lucas & Brisbane Powerhouse

Brisbane Powerhouse Turbine Studio

24th October – 3rd November 2012


Reviewed by Meredith McLean


It’s all a bit of a “heard it before” way to describe something but honestly the only word that fits the scene for me is a vibe. There’s a strange, unbending vibe upon entering the Turbine Studio. Like when you smell something and it seems so familiar but you just can’t put your finger on it. And this is all before the one man show, Performance Anxiety has even started. Submerged into a dimly lit bar scene ,people around me are already drinking and chatting. Some were laughing with friends, others appeared stoic with a glass of wine. The vibe in the room was a shaky static. Everyone knew something was about to happen. Why? Because a man lay quietly on the elevated stage in the middle of the room ignoring all of us.


Performance Anxiety Brian Lucas

Brian Lucas and his creation, Performance Anxiety, is a fascinating process to be taken through. Sometimes I felt it was a fictional, exaggerated Brian talking to us. At other moments it was a woman, or a deluded comedian or someone else all together. Then there were times I had no idea who we were communicating with. But he gave me chills nonetheless when he ran right up to someone’s face. His control of voice and the words spilling from his mouth reminded me of a sort of bald Nick Cave. What with the deep voice with the Australian twang to each word. Not to mention the words themselves. Talk of “shedding skin” and wondering when he might get a f*** out of his date. Very much a Bad Seeds revamp.


But beyond the words was the movement. Comparative to nobody I’ve met before. In fact Lucas is known for his distracting, disturbing and disarming all at once choreography. His experience with such companies as the La Boite Theatre and The Queensland Ballet amongst a slew of other companies helps it show through. The bizarre movement in his neck, his arching back and the distinctive way he shakes under the lights. Whether he be in the midst of a character’s reverie or during the transition to the next. The movement is so peculiar but potent.


The lights are another interesting journey you will take if you see Performance Anxiety. It is a case of “Look but don’t touch.” Unless you are Light Designer Andrew Meadows of course. From the hanging light bulbs that pulse along with the rhythm of Lucas’s emotions or the lights that flood from within the very stage. These effects alone fascinated me. Nobody is safe once they enter the dark and intimate room. The stage stretches from beyond the centre block, to the mirrors and curtains to the bar on the other side of the room. Before you know it Lucas will have his bright-as-lights stare hitting you hard and leaving you lost for words.


But buzz words like provoking, emotional, artistic etc are one thing. I could go on all night if I really wanted to burn your eyes out staring at a computer screen. Professionalism is another cup of tea that Brian Lucas and his team seem to be guzzling down. The rhythm between the sound desk and Lucas gets a little Meta. The desk becomes a presence in it’s own right. Answering questions for Lucas when we are clearly useless. Fueling his ego/rage/misery/joy. Take your pick; the sound team can do it. There was not a single moment where they were out of sync. Fronted by Brett Collery the sound is as lively or dark depending on the moment, as is the lighting design.


Performance Anxiety is not an accidental success. This is an established hit on its return season. And many are glad to see it coming back once more. Brian Lucas brings poetry, he brings comedy, he brings flashbacks and other worldly reflections. Whether he is pulling back the curtain or getting in the audience’s face. Performance Anxiety picks apart the insecurities of the “other guy”. The man in the cue, the woman you might know, the person you might be. Take a moment to put your anxieties and insecurities aside and listen to what Brian Lucas has to say.


Brian Lucas Performance Anxiety



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