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POV - Belvoir 25A (NSW)

Presented by re:group Performance Collective

Auteur filmmaking by the indie theatre group that is ahead of the game when it comes to technology based theatre and entrusted in the hands of young performers, this is a bucket list show for 2024.

Reviewed by Justin Clarke

Belvoir St Theatre, Downstairs

Until 16th June, 2024

An auteur in filmmaking requires a distinctive approach to a subject from a director whose control is usually fluid and personal, normally in a style that is instantly recognisable and therefore reflective of their thematic concerns. In this sense, re:group performance collective could be considered an auteur in the independent theatre scene, especially since a majority of their work involves film wizardry, themes revolving around the human experience through the lens, and always, always being innovative. Their latest work POV solidifies themselves in this regard.

Following the success of the work in UFO at Griffin Theatre, and their returning seasons of COIL, re:group have taken on the challenge of entrusting their show to a young performer. In POV they have trained, choreographed and worked with young performers Mabelle Rose and Edie Whitehead to take command of the entire performance themselves, working opposite a variety of actors years beyond their own. And yet, these two young performers make their subjects quiver in their seats in anticipation.

POV follows Bub, she is eleven years old and wants to be a famous documentary filmmaker like her idol, Werner Hertzog. Bub’s subject of her first documentary is focused on her mother’s pottery skills and we’re subject to the re-enactments she is using to reflect the breakdown of her family during her filmmaking process. 

Each performance is entrusted to either Rose or Whitehead, with the roles of Mum and Dad being given to two different performers each night. This showing saw Rose take control of actors Danny Ball and Julia Robertson with a command that was worthy of a standing ovation.

Rose takes full command of the stage at every given moment.

The beauty of POV is that the actors, as well as the audience, discover the story they’re involving themselves in each night. re:group entrust the young performers with how we as adults have difficult conversations with children, how children take agency and how we navigate the world of mental health in a child’s life.

With nifty camera work projected onto four screens around the room, the angles utilised by the young performers bring an intimacy to the piece as we see the documentary being played out both on screen and in real life. Additionally, the story takes us beyond the screen, adding a layer of filmmaking intensity that blurs the lines between the stage and the lens.

Rose takes full command of the stage at every given moment. Directing her actors to move to different locations, say lines when needed, adjust and rotate camera angles and move a dolly back and forth across the stage as required. The handling of the camera alone - itself worth a few grand - is enough to make any director sweat, but Rose makes us feel under a stern command, whilst feeling at ease at the same time.

Under the watchful eye of her chaperone Carly Young, the intricacies of working with a child actor in indie theatre is also highlighted with entertaining results - oh, and juice and cookies! It’s at once playful and a unique insight into the way theatre is made.

The script as well is hilariously presented by Rose in a bluntness that will make you cackle. Some jokes are at the brave actors’ expense, whilst others are focused on the ludicrous quotes associated to Mr. Herzog

...both raw and professional that will leave you with a lasting experience beyond the doors. 

By the end of the documentary, we’re brought to the crux of Bub’s subject. It’s cleverly done whilst being truly and resonantly emotional. Thanks in part to Ashley Bundang’s sound design throughout to offer silences as well as audio gags.

Belvoir St Theatre is at the top of its game when scheduling their seasons. With the graduated downstairs show of Never Closer playing in the upstairs theatre, and re:group’s POV playing in the downstairs space, Belvoir St is the place to go for theatre that is both raw and professional that will leave you with a lasting experience beyond the doors. 


A post show Artist Talk/Q&A will be held on Tuesday, 4th June. 

Audio Described show on Thursday 13th June delivered by Steve Wilson-Alexander

Auslan show on Saturday 15th June at 7:45pm delivered by Jennifer Maclaughlan and Will Tapp



















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