Presented by Velvet Chase Productions
Reviewed 14th November 2019
Mental health is coming to the forefront at Feast Festival 2019 in many production and artistic styles on show throughout the festival and Pridevember. #NoFilter is a brilliant contribution to the mix with a well-considered and intricate show.
#NoFilter is the project from choreographer Dannie Candida and production partner Serena. Its development over five years through fringe and overseas performances has crafted #NoFilter into a carnival themed, storytelling mosaic piece of theatre.
#NoFilter is a mixed theatre production involving mime, theatrics, some physical theatre and music, all pooled together to tell stories of how mental health impacts and interrupts personal lives. The overall show was an interwoven series of sketch-style acts, connected throughout to depict a compelling, emotionally charged production.
The show covered topics including dissociative disorder, suicide, body dysmorphia, rape and trauma but despite approaching such heavy topics, #NoFilter used a blend of masks and shadows as part of the entire carnival setting on the stage. While it removed the heat from the direct confrontation on some topics, the style cleverly left some hidden horrors present but concealed.
There was an intriguing mix of multimedia and physical movements to create complex layers of story, emotion and drama. The use of dark and light (the shadows and hope) created a balance needed for the style of performance and granted plot advancement and interconnectivity between the nine performers.
The performances within #NoFilter draw upon lived experiences and life moments close to the performers. Literal and metaphorical acts alternated between their blunt messages and artistic symbology. The performers were captivating and well controlled throughout the powerful, and sometimes vivid, scenes. The work was backed up by a live violinist, which neatly highlighted and underscored the areas of increasing intensity.
Interestingly, considering the already textured show, the venue of Scots Church neatly added to the general scope of the show. The looming structures and organs projected a background, institutional menace that leered over the show as if with ominous intent. The lighting and sound work matched this suitably.
Being a strange, new setting for such a production as #NoFilter did mean some small stumbles and awkward positioning crept into the show but these were relatively minor and the mixed use of stairs and risen prop staging catered for the church style seating.
#NoFilter runs at Feast Festival over the weekend and will feature at later fringe events. The show does come with a content warning but how the production was managed provided a catharsis by leading the audience in and out from the heavier moments, and by managing a clear intent behind the work.
Reviewed by Alex Dunkin
Rating out of 5: 4.5 beautifully heavy
Venue: Scots Church Adelaide
Season: 14th-16th November 2019
Duration: 1 hour 30 mins
Tickets: $15.00 – $20.00