Invisible Things REVIEW by Catherine Lawrence

... the audience filtered into the dimly-lit room, drawn toward and walking round the cube, peering in at the artist, anticipating what they might experience. Over the next 40 minutes, we watched Alex as she peeled back the layers (literally and metaphorically), allowing us to share some of the rage and frustration associated with finding her own creative voice. As the journey unfolded, so the artist demonstrated her skills in gymnastics, circus, and dance—with some impressive en pointe skipping, handstand cane balancing, and aerial.... 

The Powerhouse Stores Studio is a wonderful, pared-back, high-ceilinged space—perfect for a show that places the creator/performer (Alex Mizzen) in the centre of a 3m x 3m smoke-filled cube. On 13th May, the audience filtered into the dimly-lit room, drawn toward and walking round the cube, peering in at the artist, anticipating what they might experience. Over the next 40 minutes, we watched Alex as she peeled back the layers (literally and metaphorically), allowing us to share some of the rage and frustration associated with finding her own creative voice. As the journey unfolded, so the artist demonstrated her skills in gymnastics, circus, and dance—with some impressive en pointe skipping, handstand cane balancing, and aerial.

As an artist working in the very physical arena of gymnastics, circus, aerial, dance, and balance, any serious injury must be a time for reflection, and concern. Invisible Things draws on the dialogue between the performer and her journals—described as “an unedited exposé of my internal world”—which led to a “realisation of a collection of patterns or mindsets […] noticings.” As the show unfolds, we see some of the writings on the walls, but find it difficult to read their meanings. The artist speaks through her body and movements, but without using her voice. At the end we feel we have learned more from the compelling interaction  between the performer and soundtrack, and from her destruction or ultimate breaking free from the box.

Alex has brought together a great team together for this production (Anna Whitaker [soundtrack], Michael Maggs, [Collaborating Artist], Helen Clifford [Rigging], and Kristian Santic [Dramaturg]). Unfair perhaps to select out one element of this but, for me, the soundtrack was absolutely perfect. I felt that the sound artist and performer created a compelling dialogue, perfectly anticipating each other’s mood and moves. A production that would work well in a modern art gallery, as well as in contemporary circus. If you are looking for a show that draws your full attention, then why not visit the Powerhouse Stores Studio while you can.

Photograph: Invisible Things (Alex Mizzen). Picture credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography

Verdict: Prepare to be challenged. Performance art/contemporary dance meets modern angst—with some excellent balance and aerial work and a fantastic soundtrack.

Audience tip: Seating is available, but you may prefer to walk around the outside of the cube during the performance. 15+ (some nudity). 40 minutes.

Only four more performances (19th, 20th, 26th & 27th May). Tickets are available at the Anywhere Festival website. $25.

Catherine Lawrence

The reviewer attended the Sunday 13th May performance.

Pictures Credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography.