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Anything You Can Do - Pony Cam Collective (VIC)

Presented by Pony Cam Collective.


Reviewed by Annika Loci

Chalice Hall, Northcote

Two more shows have been opened up on 25th & 26th Feb at 7.30pm.


- Anything You Can Do is a poignant reminder about what we each have to offer -


How would you answer…

  • Are you afraid of the dark?

  • Is it easier to receive love or give love?

  • Have you ever stolen from Coles?

  • Where do you like to be licked?

  • What do you fear the most?

  • What’s the wildest thing you’ve done on drugs?


These are just a few of the potential 300+ questions posed by experimental theatre group Pony Cam Collective in a revamp of 2022 FUSE Festival successful production Anything You Can Do.


Pony Cam Collective are a group of five theatre makers from across Australia, with the “desire to bring people together to create experiences that could not otherwise be had” (Pony Cam). The 2023 version of Anything You Can Do has been presented by current collective members (Claire Bird, Ava Campbell, William Strom, Dominic Weintraub and Hugo Williams) together with a diverse group of baby-boomers (Maria Ferguson, Sarah Kipnis, Sylvie Leber, Mark Loveday, Brona O'Brien, Bernard Peasley), creating a beautiful and unique moment in time through the juxtaposition of genuine stories, memories and opinions of “young “and “old”.




Anything You Can Do challenges how theatre can be presented or interpreted, and Pony Cam certainly achieves their goal of asking audiences to question their own assumptions. On arrival you are greeted by cast and asked to wander and read the hundreds of questions posted on the wall, ranging from the mundane to blush worthy to the laugh out loud and some that one might assume are just ridiculous. Pony Cam even in this moment have already achieved their purpose with audience members answering questions and discussing them back at their seats, sharing and questioning their own experiences. With no topic out of bounds, audiences do need to come with an open mind and heart, expecting a very human and authentic experience.


Audiences are given a brief introduction to expect the normal theatre experience like acting and scene work, however that’s about where the “norm” ends. Pony Cam’s simple seating arrangement design is very clever; two rows along the sides of the hall looking into a space from one end to the other is a strong key element to making this theatre experience work so well. It is a space that feels intimate and comfortable to be honest and shared.


Beginning with the differences between “old” and “young” answering random questions (they are random each performance), it became very evident we interpret and answer questions differently depending on our age, experience, context and who might be listening to your answer. Questions and answers bounced around from one end to the other like a tennis match with some cast stumped at how to answer and the opposite generation lending a hand instead. The heaviest hitting answer for this evening was to a simple question “What do you fear the most?” which was addressed by an older generation sharing their fear of their Transgender child’s life with the high incidence of suicide in that community.


It’s a poignant reminder that no matter age, experience, or gender, you will always have something to offer the world.

With stories ranging from experiences in historical time, grief, love and sex, many scenes are heightened with well-placed humour creating a fun sense of drama, chaos and silliness.


Combining some generic everyday props and costume changes, a few lights available from a hardware store, and using Chalice Hall itself, with the 1960s song ‘SHOUT’ woven within the production, Pony Cam uses individual theatrical elements, in both traditional and non-traditional ways to their advantage. Although never really very clear why the song SHOUT is used, it reminds us that every person’s memory, opinion, thought or story has validity and we learn about ourselves from the sharing of experiences and being our own person.


Pony Cam brings theatrical experience as unique as each show’s content and should be congratulated on the creation of Anything You Can Do. This is a show which will have you sharing your own experiences post show and reflecting for days. It’s a poignant reminder that no matter age, experience, or gender, you will always have something to offer the world.

 

Created and directed by/ PONYCAM

Created and performed by/

Maria Ferguson

Sarah Kipnis

Sylvie Leber

Mark Loveday

Brona O'Brien

Bernard Peasley


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