Have you ever wanted to be inside Scott Wings’ mind? To see where the poetry comes from, all that raw talent—and, perhaps more importantly to this show, to see the sort of insecurities that surround it all? Because that’s what Colossi is. It’s a jaunt into the subconscious of Scott Wings, and it’s every bit as manic and entertaining as you’d imagine it to be.
Set on a gorgeous and out-of-the way bridge in Highgate Hill, done up with antique-style carpets and lamps, Wings begins the performance by playing an ‘imagination warm-up game’, which he uses to familiarise the audience with the idea that most aspects of the show will not be physically-present, readying us for the more improvisational elements of the show. Occasionally throughout the show, he asks us to yell out weapons for him and his imaginary friend Jack to fight monsters with, and he runs with whatever he gets—from ‘tentacles’ to ‘the LNP’s 2015-16 budget’, Scott’s improv skills conjure something hilarious to act out for us congruently within Colossi’s context. This in and of itself is a testament to this man’s skills as a performer; the way he can run with such a diversity of stimulus in really out-of-the-box and creative ways is something to be lauded.
Also in testament to Scott as a performer are the physical demands of the show he’s devised. For an hour he jumps between characters in loops, acts out all three parts of several fight scenes, jumps around the entirety of the bridge he uses as a long and unconventional stage—the amount of movement he’s doing here is incredible. And as such, by the end his chest is pumping, his legs are shaking, the sweat’s dripping off him to catch in the stage’s warm lighting.
And while all this physicality is very impressive, some of it does draw out a bit. Fight scenes loop a few beats too long, and some of the show’s repeated elements don’t quite land—but even then these flaws are rare, and don’t really serve to lower the show’s quality in any substantial way. In fact the only time Colossi’s quality really falters is in the ending monologue, which felt a tad self-aggrandising. The spiel about the nature of life and finding peace didn’t quite ring true for me, and while it felt important in the context of being something Scott wrote for himself, parts of the speech felt a little corny when attached to what was up to that point quite a nuanced piece delving into the mind of an artist. The style of this monologue, and its referential phrases like ‘life isn’t a Centrelink form’—I felt it struggling to gel with the rest of the show, and it almost seemed to have been tacked onto the end because of what it meant to Wings on a personal level, rather than in the context of the actual show.
But then so much of the dialogue here does work, and it sometimes even tears a beautiful hole through the gully the play is set in, and it speaks true and warm, and even for all its flaws the show’s ending is rounded off quite well. After all, Colossi’s so damn playful that its magic couldn’t possibly be tarnished by a few off-kilter lines. This is, in the end, a truly great work, a truly special space, and a truly talented performance that I wouldn’t mind seeing repurposed again for some other unconventional space.