This little comedy with the biggest heart has a cast of 25 performed by one man, a stick of chalk and a sock puppet! It is not a love story, it’s a story about love…and physics…and evolution…and mad magpies…and the stars.
You know The Escapists and you know their hit show boy girl wall. I love it! I reviewed it in 2011…
Boy Girl Wall
30th March-17th April 2011
The Roundhouse Theatre
Conceptual, comical, physical theatre at its best.
It’s really difficult to describe this show but to stop at that would make a very poor review, wouldn’t it? It’s not a love story, as we were told from the outset; it’s a story about love. And inanimate objects. Sure, we meet a boy, a girl, a boss, a publisher, parents, and an Alan Cummings inspired (don’t try to tell me it wasn’t) “ironically gothic” librarian’s assistant and then a wall, a ceiling, a floor, a statue, a computer, two doors and a power box (is that everybody?)… All in a one-man show!
I could mention a whole host of hilarious little anecdotes, involving a bicycle named Penelope and the malicious Magpie of Montague Road, or tell you all about the co-operative matchmaking antics of the wall, the ceiling, the floor and the doors of a couple of West End apartments but that would be glossing over the real magic of this production, which is the storyteller himself.
Lucas Stibbard is the creative genius behind The Escapists, a creative team of “Realisers” (Matthew Ryan, Neridah Waters and Sarah Winter join Stibbard in the production process), working collaboratively to conceptualise and bring to life, truly unique new works. Stibbard’s performance – all seventy-five minutes of it – was dynamic (and the invitation he extended to me, to play a small role at a crucial moment in the play, a very clever and unexpected interactive device)!
In keeping with the slick nature of this production, deceptively simple design (Jonothan Oxlade), carefully measured lighting (Keith Clark) and sound effects and music (Neridah Waters) supported Stibbard’s efforts.
Props to La Boite Theatre Company’s Artistic Director, David Berthold, who saw the potential of boy girl wall in its previous incarnation at !Metro Arts in 2010. Going by the buzz of the capacity opening night crowd before and after the show, it appears Berthold made a wise choice.
This show is like taking an illicit substance before class and giggling ’til you think you’ve heard the bell…well, of course I can only imagine that’s what it’s like (it’s a show that is, after all, largely dependent on your imagination). I laughed ’til I had tears streaming down my cheeks and never more so than during an entire minute of sock puppet fellatio that has to be seen to be believed.
This is a truly original, hyper-creative piece that has clearly come from a place that is inaccessible to most of us. The characters and stories within the story are all at once enchanting, horrifying, mortifying and even, at times, endearing. Not without its tender moments, boy girl wall is unique, defying typical form and laughing out loud at traditional theatrical styles. Rather than pushing boundaries, it draws new ones, literally, in white chalk, on a blackboard painted floor and walls constructed from free-standing, old fashioned chalk boards; I remember them from Year 1, when the photocopying came back hot and purple-inked from the office.
This is the simplest of stories, told in the most complex, physically and mentally demanding multi-modal delivery imaginable. This is an Edinburgh Fringe show. This is a small global sensation. This is the little show that could and it is a little gem that mustn’t be missed.
Now boy girl wall has been invited to present a showcase performance of the work at the prestigious International Performing Arts for Youth conference (IPAY) which will be held in Pittsburgh USA in January 2014.
This conference collects the best of the best in works for young people and presents them to potential presenters in the USA, Canada and beyond. This is a phenomenal opportunity for The Escapists to take their work to the world.
Your last chance to see boy girl wall in Brisbane is on Monday December 16 at Brisbane Powerhouse. Tickets on sale on Friday December 7 at 8pm but by contributing to the pozible.com campaign (there are just 10 hours to go!) you avoid the Box Office booking fees!
10 hours to go! GO!