Venue: Waterside Workers Hall, 11 Nile Street, Port Adelaide
Season: 8pm nightly Wed to Sat to 6th Aug, 3pm Sat 30th, 2pm Sun 31st July, 3pm Sat 6th Aug
Duration: 50min incl interval
Tickets: adult $26/conc $22/Fringe Benefits $18
Bookings: BASS 131 241 or http://www.bass.net.au
Performer and writer, Gabrielle Griffin, looks at many aspects of the desire of a woman to reproduce, through the medium of a small Banraku style puppet named Maz Baker, designed and made by Rod Primrose. The puppet has a rod emerging from the rear of the head, held in one hand to support the puppet, while the limbs are moved directly by the puppeteer's other hand.
The design, by Gaelle Mellis and Wendy Todd, is very important to the production. A large tent has been erected within the main hall, making a more intimate venue that better suits the performance, with scrim curtains behind the main performance area further reducing the space and allowing her to project images from behind.
To one side of the stage is a cabinet, its glass windows filled with eggs, a symbol of fertility, backlit to give a fascinating effect. To the front is a pile of sawdust and to the other side of the stage is an old sewing machine table that serves, for most of the time, as the performance area.
The music, by Catherine Oates and Belinda Gehlert, is also very important, matching the many moods through which we are taken and heightening the intensity. Mark Pennington's lighting and the animations of Luku Kuku, projected onto the set, add yet more layers to this multifaceted work. We open with the sound of a clock ticking, the timer rings and Griffin takes an open baked pie from the bottom drawer of the cabinet. Immediately we think of the expression 'body clock', the passing of time leading many women to a reproductive imperative.
Within all of this is little Maz, brilliantly brought to life by Griffin, who takes us through a symbolically rich exploration of the reproductive urge. There are so many poignant moments, including a rather strange dream sequence, but a little humour surfaces here and there, such as the appearance of a turkey baster, lightening the mood at times. This is a sensitive and very inclusive look at at that natural biological urge that hit most women at some point in their lives.
Not surprisingly, it was a predominantly female audience, but there is just as much in this production for men. It covers a vast amount in short space of time in a thoroughly absorbing and intriguing performance that will leave you thinking and talking about it afterwards.
Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Arts Editor, Glam Adelaide.