The Bureau of Dodgy Dreams review by Joy Hinckley
18 May at The Old Ambulance Station, Nambour
David Erskine, the imaginative force behind The Bureau of Dodgy Dreams, has a long and impressive theatrical CV. Originating in Adelaide, he has studied, worked and toured widely, living in the creative hubs of Amsterdam and Berlin. He now calls the Sunshine Coast home.
His fellow creator/performers Georgia Toner and Cesar Genaro lend their agile bodies and wonderfully mobile and expressive faces to the many characters they inhabit.
A series of short and varied pieces, The Bureau of Dodgy Dreams aims to animate the inanimate: puppets, masks, and light. Some use a traditional puppet theatre proscenium; and some step forward to perform in the space in front.
Stand out puppet pieces include The Fisherman, adapted from the legend of the Selkies, or seal-women; and The Night Watchman. The Night Watchman was an oddly disturbing vision, a kind of Goya meets Dali nightmare.
The Fisherman created moments of genuine enchantment in both senses of the word. I was completely convinced of the life inhabiting these little beings, and delighted by their small, subtle human gestures, particularly those of Georgia’s Selkie woman.
Georgia Toner provided two more standout moments in the show, a recitation of Poe’s Dream-Land, with only lighting and a mask which she held in her hand; and the beautifully sung lament When I am Laid to Earth to accompany Mother Earth, a story of a child born, grown, and ultimately lost to war.
The Tally Stick was less successful. Life size puppets of Nemesis and Mephisto argue over who gets first dibs at a human soul. The writing lacked a sharp and clear focus and the performance seemed perhaps a little under-rehearsed.
Two straight forward clowning segments, Breaking News and Crossroads delighted the small but responsive audience. I know the show was all about puppets and masks, but I was pining for a glimpse of the animated faces I knew lay behind the odd masks.
OMG…It’s a book! visited what has now become cliché theatre territory, our addiction to social media and electronic devices.
The Bureau of Dodgy Dreams’ season is now completed on the Sunshine Coast, but there are two more performances at Concept in Fortitude Valley on 25 May.