DEMO - Sydney Fringe Festival (NSW)
Choreography and performance by Melody Rachel.
Reviewed by Natania McLeod
Emerging Artists Sharehouse, Erskineville
Season 20 September – 23 September 2023 (NSW)
- Bold, authentic, and humourous, the future development of 'Demo' is one to watch -
Anticipation hangs in the air of a small audience while light-hearted music plays in the background. The act opens without warning, with Melody Rachel walking briskly to the centre, facing backwards. On a blank level-to-audience stage, dressed in simple sports gear, Rachel slowly raises her hand into a wave to greet those perhaps far off in the distance. Continuing to face backstage, she waves to others not there, but convincingly real.
Something about the back of her head, the weight shifting in her feet, makes you believe they are really there. You can feel her hope. Turning to finally face her audience, she beams as she waves to individual members, hoping for a response and receiving one. She then breaks out into urgent movements which are weaved throughout the rest of the performance, giving a sense of longing and heaviness.
This little gem of a work-in-progress is one with something urgent to say. Armed with only placards, marker pens and herself, Rachel interacts with her audience in a friendly and slightly cheeky mime. Neither angry, nor sad, as so many pieces on the topic of difference or otherness often are, this act offers something unique. With a confronting sense of humour, Melody doesn’t directly ask questions or make demands but rather, offers the audience alternating choices with her placards. One worded signs, for example, between cat and dog, vegemite and marmite, religion and Jesus, vanilla and rough, lesbian and sinner, are handed out to those who raise their hands. Pausing in the middle of the placard interaction, she weaves with her arms what appears to be intricate waves, seamlessly dancing an ocean pattern and finishing with reaching one finger up towards the heavens, before returning to her witty signs.
In this act, Rachel’s honesty and cleverness are to be praised. Despite the playfulness, this short 45-minute piece leaves the audience with something to think about. What is it to acknowledge everything, to acknowledge all of oneself, one’s experiences?
Demo is a very personal, intimate event that leaves you wanting more. A solid show for those questioning their faith, wanting to see an original work, those on the fringes of any society, or those who enjoy these deep subjects. Bold, authentic, and humourous, the future development of this piece is one to watch out for.
19 - 23 Sep | 50 minutes
Venue 1: Emerging Artist Sharehouse - The Living Room
SHOW IS RATED: M
Plan your Sydney Fringe this September by heading to their website for the extensive list of what's on offer. Visit: https://sydneyfringe.com/whats-on/