Adelaide Festival

Festival Review: Small Metal Objects

It’s street theatre, but not as we know it, where the performers are in the crowd and the audiece is being looked at.

Small Metal Objects is unique in its presentation and captivating in its telling.

Presented by Back to Back Theatre
Reviewed 3 March 2021

Blue bleachers sit at the beach end of Moseley Square, facing out between the line of palm trees that greet visitors to the seaside suburb of Glenelg. Halfway up the square, a playful water fountain spurts from the ground to the delight of children and dogs. Cafes line both sides of this public space while the tram comes and goes with a ding of its bell.

The audience takes a seat, donning headphones and looking out at the activity of peoples’ lives. Singles, couples and small groups are walking, eating, talking laughing, and looking back curiously as four actors walk amongst them playing out their scene. As they are watched, so too are the audience watched by the curious passers-by.

Only the audience can hear the dialogue through their headphones, backed by an unobtrusive soundscape by Hugh Covill. Small Metal Objects is intimate theatre despite the wide-open space. It was devised by Bruce Gladwin, Simon Laherty, Sonia Teuben, Genevieve Morris and Jim Russell, with direction by Bruce Gladwin. First performed in Flinders Street Train Station, Melbourne in 2005, the show makes a welcome return to Adelaide after 15 years.

It’s the story of Gary and Steve (Brian Tilley and Simon Laherty), long-time friends hanging out, who go from being invisible to central when they inadvertently become blockers to a very important event being organised by two desperate executives, Alan and Caroline (Jim Russell and Genevieve Picot).

Facing mental health issues, tight deadlines, reputation, and other conundrums, the four players dive into the desires of friendship, ambition and intimacy in a way that is surprising, funny and completely engaging. Played out amongst the real-life patrons visiting Moseley Square, the setting provides a dose of realism that adds to the delight of this simple yet wonderful production.

Small Metal Objects is unique in its presentation and captivating in its telling. This is what arts festivals should be like.

Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Twitter: @StrtegicRetweet

Venue:  Moseley Square, Glenelg
Season:  Until 8 March at various timeslots
Duration:  50 minutes
Tickets:  $25 – $59

Photo credit: Image supplied by West Kowloon Cultural District

Rating out of 5: 5



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