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Monday, 9 March 2015

BELVOIR’S ‘BLUE WIZARD’ dissected by me



There are moments during a show when you realise with sickening awareness that you are not its target audience. ‘Blue Wizard’ hit me with that fact somewhere between ‘I come from a crystal planet where everyone is gay’ and ‘I only eat cocaine and jizz’. 

As much as Nick Coyle’s ‘Blue Wizard’ has been jazzed up since its inception at PACT centre for emerging artists in 2013, it still feels like a distinctly Fringe Festival show. The acting is patchy, the energy is lacking and until Coyle starts to integrate puppetry into the performance, the show itself is flat and thin.

‘Blue Wizard’ attempts to appeal to its mainly gay male audience with snide remarks every now and again, with Coyle’s gold lame underwear as costume and its content is squarely aimed at its demographic. Although I never felt uncomfortable, mostly I wasn’t amused either. The Blue Wizard, one of many hair coloured wizards from his home planet, known for partying and sexual freedom, lands on Earth as ambassador after winning a competition on his home planet. His comet crashes and left with just a wizard’s egg that takes 2000 years to hatch, he finds himself in an abandoned tip (perhaps Earth of the future). The egg hatches, the Blue Wizard becomes nursemaid and we realise his dilemma of time, love and sacrifice.

It is the play’s ending that almost redeems the one hour show. That and Steve Toulmin’s sound and Damien Cooper’s light show. Ralph Myer’s has crafted a design that is versatile and able to surprise us with what can emerge, be lit, found and created. In fact, if the first three quarters of the show didn't rely on someone who could act and with had more substantial material, the performance would have been more enjoyable for all of its audience, not just the gay male contingent. 

However, the men in the audience were amused and love the ‘readings’ and ‘shade’ done by Coyle and there was a level of androgyny that gave it an intrigue. The problem with the show is that it was half-cooked and if not for the technical prowess at play, the thin nature of the show would have been doubly exposed. 

I would not be rushing to see it but if you do, it’s currently playing in Belvoir Downstairs Theatre

2 comments:

  1. Hello Jane. I would like to point out a particular bias to your comments regarding Blue Wizard. Any time you deride a show for speaking directly to a minority audience, such as a largely gay audience, you reinforce the notion that mainstream theatre is straight theatre, and speaks to the majority of audience members. I reject that. Theatre is up for grabs, and when I buy a ticket, I also buy the right to occupy any subject position I wish. I'm a heterosexual woman and I found this show to be remarkably moving. How on earth did I manage to invest in this show as a straight woman? Because it's up to the individual to make their own meaning. Fine, you didn't enjoy the show, but please don't suggest it was because the playwright is a gay man that employed gay male humour (whatever that is) and spoke exclusively to a gay male audience. How then do gay men respond to Arthur Miller, David Mamet, Chekov? Straight theatre for straight people, right? Speaking to their straight demographic, using straight emotions and telling straight stories - nothing for gay folks there (and I am of course using "super gay irony" to make my point here). Of course a gay man can speak to me about my human experience. I'm capable of seeing the world from something other than my own narrow experience; thank god, or else so much of the canon would exclude me. Enough with labelling theatre as gay, queer, women's, or otherwise. Please don't shut down the potential of "peripheral" theatre to speak to the culture at large. The effect, intended or not, is to privilege the work made by straight white middle class men.

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    1. couldnt have said it better myself.

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