Fringe Review: 30,000 Notes

Josh Belperio, actor, playwright, composer and obsessive note taker gives a stellar performance of 30,000 Notes

By
Obsessive note taker Josh Belperio examines his life with musical notes
Overall
5

Reviewed at nthspace Gallery on 19 February 2019

Presented by Under The Microscope/Josh Belpario

Josh Belperio, actor, playwright, composer and obsessive note taker gave a stellar performance of 30,000 Notes tonight, even though he told us there were really only some 16,000 odd musical notes in the show.

The nthspace Gallery, tucked away on North Street in Adelaide, is one of those quirky Fringe venues that work so well for one man shows. The gallery walls were covered in notes: a huge collection of written, drawn and musical ones plus the notes we heard from his phone, from ideas for compositions to simple reminders and lists.

Great direction by Matthew Briggs, Belperio’s partner, brought this very personal story to life as we are taken through Josh’s close relationship with his Nonna, his confusion about his sexuality, the search for love and the realisation that those we love, and who love us, will always be with us.

The lighting and projection onto the wall of notes was simply stunning, even allowing for some opening night glitches. Lighting and projection designer Mark Oakley did a great job of tightly spotlighting the notes as they were taken down and read. Areas are also lit up in different colours which demonstrates Josh’s synaesthesia. This is a fascinating condition in which two of the senses cross over and for him certain sounds and/or words have colours associated with them. For instance, for him 30,000 Notes is green.

Projections of a younger Josh, feeding ducks with his grandparents, making pasta and eating – ‘mange, mange’ his Nonna would tell him – formed a wonderful backdrop to his original music. I was moved to tears by the music inspired by the poem Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep by Mary Frye which was written after the death of his grandparents.

As a finale, the audience was treated to the world premiere of a piece of music written by Josh in celebration of his love for his partner Matthew and inspired by the E E Cummings poem I Carry Your Heart With Me. I have to mention the brilliant work done by sound designer and recording engineer Neville Clark in bringing Josh’s musical vision to life – his compositions, a string quartet and an incredible choir – with the music just filling the venue.

You will laugh, and perhaps cry as well, but you will certainly be inspired by this wonderful tale of love, loss and great hope for the future.

Reviewed by Jan Kershaw

Venue:  nthspace Gallery at nthspace ,31-33 North St, Adelaide

Season:  19 Feb to 16 March at 9pm (not Sunday and Monday)
Duration:  90 minutes
Tickets:  $20 to $30 concession $25 rated PG

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