The Moon House Tent, Fringe World
Review: Michael Collins
I feel a twinge of sympathy for the dancers of KnickKnack, so clearly programmed into a space so unsympathetic towards dance.
The less than a meter of rostrum that covers the bare grass and dirt floor extending towards the audience is not designed to be frolicked upon; the sagging cloth tent roof was constantly hitting the head of dancer Amy Mauvan, who also fell from the thin, raised stage at one point and you could feel the unwillingness to fully unleash into several phrases due to the close proximity of various metal poles and the rickety floor.
Perhaps all this explains the general attitude of not quite getting there that KnickKnack permeates, but one gets the feeling that with all of these obstacles removed the piece would still not hold its own.
Amy Mauvan and Febe Homes move through the show with great commitment and non-plus in spite of the various technical hiccups (such as the music for the opening section not coming on until the dancer prompted it from on stage), but again it seems evident that there is just not enough quality material here to fill out the full advertised 50 minutes (the show ended at about 40).
The majority of the dance phrases add nothing to the show that wasn't already evident in the first: the easily identifiable movement of youth and the rivalry of childhood friendships.
There is some humour to be found however, in clever uses of audience interaction, Febe Home's drinking tea, a delightful AV section of two Barbie doll's journey around Perth and a deadpan banana that keeps reminding us that we are going to die.
The unrelenting techno soundtrack was vibrant, but suited some sections of the piece more than others and it would have been nice to see some variance in the show's underscore and tone.
The programming of shows in the Moon and Sun House tents so far in Fringe appears to have gone ahead with little forethought.
I saw Chatterbox, a rapid-fire duologue from American company Madcap Theatre, in the Sun House tent last Sunday, the timeslot of which put it on during Bessie Lanu's set in the Moonhouse, a few meters of space and some cloth doing nothing to isolate the noise between the two and effectively rendering Chatterbox unwatchable for that night and the sparse audience's money wasted.
But, sadly, ludicrous programming is not the saving grace for KnickKnack.
KnickKnack runs until February 8, starting at 6.30pm in the Moon House tent.