It’s a straightforward affair in The Reality Event: Game, the second act delivered by Daniel Gough and the Suicide Ensemble – in its simplest form, a circus that asks, “why be yourself, when you can win instead?”
As the night begins we’re presented with a set of trash-clad players, each offering themselves to the audience, almost sacrificially. We’re told that while this is only a game, there definitely can be a winner – it’s this line that ultimately sets the tone of the piece as the audience are quickly divided into teams, told that drinking, cheating and sabotage are encouraged, and give a series of increasingly degrading punishments to inflict on their competitors (“Who wants to throw eggs?” is not an odd question to ask). Prizes are never brought up, but nobody seems to make a point of asking – for it’s a game of euphoria via expression, of restrained bloodlust, where you can feel free to cheer, yell and (not quite) do-as-you-please. By the end of the night, you’ll have raised an idol, only to watch it later be degraded for the amusement of the audience – we’re made into voyeurs, but remain complicit.
Props are in ample supply, but the cast continue to do the heavy lifting and take their humiliation with gusto – at once acting the part of the squad leader and the court jester. Gough himself plays the part of the evening’s compère, displaying the demented disdain of a roman emperor sending Christians off to the lions as the audience look on with glee, and he and his equally sadistic co-host (think: part Carmen Miranda, part matron) take great joy in parading each contestant before the crowd as they are shamed, followed by a simple “please leave”. Special mention must go to the team referees, whose attempts to steal the limelight don’t go unnoticed, and the chaos created through this one-upmanship is reflected on the stage (Brisbane’s Bean) as it quickly becomes a mess of rubber, eggshells and dairy products.
As with The Reality Event: Suicide, you could spend all day thinking about the deeper meaning behind what is portrayed and your personal reaction thereto, but it’s not particularly necessary for a performance that’s just so fun. While a lack of shock value or imparted meaning may make this the less memorable of the two Reality Events, it’s an enjoyable distraction regardless. It’s up to the viewer to take what they will from the experience, but there’s much to gain from participating – another victory for this group of talented young minds.
Reviewed by Jason Lomas
This review is based on the reviewer’s experience of the performance on May 12.