Taxidermy Grandma review by David Casey
seen 18th May
Performance season from 18th to 19th of May, at Concept, 17 McLachlan Street, Fortitude Valley
Disclaimer: I am friends with, and have worked professionally with, multiple creatives involved with this production. I strive to remain unbiassed in the face of this, which would be a lot easier to demonstrate if the show didn’t leave me on the verge of a loud, messy cry.
It’s difficult for me to intelligently and critically review this show for a couple of reasons. Firstly, simultaneous staged plotlines have been a profound interest of mine for some time. Secondly, I am a big fan of anything even remotely sci-fi, so playing with parallel universes on top of my interest in simultaneous plotlines lit my face up into a massive grin when I realized what was happening. Finally, and what makes this most difficult, is because at some point in Aprile’s performance, despite knowing her personally, I no longer saw the actress, but could only see my grandmother slipping away for the second time.
What perhaps is most indicative of the effect this show had on its audience as a whole was when it ended. A cast member opens the door to the outside world, and stands by to let people out, and nobody moved a muscle. The audience were so invested in the world, that they didn’t want to break away just yet, wanting just a bit more time with it. It took a few moments and a round of applause for us to begin to move on. To a degree, leaving that performance was like leaving behind a loved one.
This is achieved in part due to a well-crafted mood established before you enter the performance space. Even before the doors have opened, you’re having fun. You are provided with an outfit to throw on, making everyone look like what I would describe as a cross between a clown and a monk. Entering the space, you are encouraged to join in a song. The space is well-lit, and the cast are all smiles. There is an incredible warmth that permeates the room. The song sung in that time is burned into your mind like a rosy memory, and every time it is sung in less happy contexts your mind is thrown back, masterfully paralleling moments of seeing glimpses of someone’s former self when they are suffering from Alzheimer’s.
The final performance is tonight, the 19th at 6pm. If you can make it, I wholeheartedly encourage you to do so. If not, keep an eye out for a future season, or any work done by these creatives, as I doubt they will disappoint.