Alpha

There’s certainly a lot going on in Alpha: physical theatre, beat poetry and live music combine as the company confides their desires and secrets with their audience. In this case, however, the sum of the parts is not yet greater than the whole.

This is a production that needs polish

As one half of the onstage duo, Tamara Natt is a strong performer, with charisma and confidence exuding from the Adidas training tracksuit she (and all the ensemble) is sporting. She is at ease with her audience, breaking out of verse to tell us about her early sexual encounters as casually as if she was discussing her first day at work. Sebastian Robinson also has his moments in the spotlight, but the weighting seems imbalanced to me, particularly with only two performers onstage. If this is a wrestle to be the Alpha, there is no doubt who has already won.

From opening to close, a return to beat poetry gives this production a pulsating, visceral feel, with live accompaniment from Eliza Fawcett on electric guitar. I liked what I heard, and would have liked more of this soundscape feel to continue, but as with other elements of this production it hadn’t yet been developed to its full potential.

When a key part of beat poetry is an engagement with the artist’s placement of each word, it seemed therefore an odd choice to continually overlap sections and mar the impact of both performers. The effect, whilst driving forwards the momentum of the production, was sometimes overwhelming.

This is a production that needs polish – the synchronised choreography was noticeably not-so, whilst stylistic lighting decisions often left the performers speaking in the dark. Another is due to join the ensemble as a supporting artist, who will provide Sign Language to accompany the performance. I would be interested to see whether, with an extra hand on board, this changes the dynamic for the better – but I’m not sure it will.

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Devour my sex. It's on sale. A high-speed collision of bodies and ranting rhyme, Alpha explores the roles we inhabit. A beat poet journey through our personal identity. Want to be on top? Want to be a top? No time to bottom out... Where is our destination? What is our destiny? Let's run with the alphas. Physical theatre, spoken word, poetry, sign language and choreography. ‘Alpha caresses the ears, awakens the eyes, and expands the mind. It is a truly exquisite fringe festival gem, written and performed by two masters of the English language and the human body’ (TheatrePeople.com.au).

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