By Erica Brennan
100 Years of Lizards at King Street Theatre
Walking into the New Theatre I was transfixed by the beautifully crafted set. Jess Tran has created a design that is at once both sophisticated and childlike. The punctured holes and watery blue lighting on draped sheets suggested lizard skin and the inside of an attractively worn out field tent. It was simply stunning. I felt very grateful indeed for those first few hushed minutes as other patrons found their seats to just sink and admire the world I was about to. A world of ancient lizard overlords, lovesick rangers and Disney-esque villains – if Disney was okay with brutal animal consumption for the purposes of everlasting beauty.
I was aware that ‘100 Years of Lizards’ had been through a various developments and a season of work at the Adelaide Fringe festival, and it shows. Without a hint of clunkiness this show runs like a dream. A bizarre yet strangely alluring dream that will have you dance in your seat; no really, you dance like lizards. I’m not one for audience participation but I was sticking my tongue out and trotting from left to right on demand. The performers Kim Parrish, Alex Williams, Stephen Jones are unashamedly committed to the weird and wonderful world they have created with writer Patrick Lenton and move effortlessly between brilliant character acting and great sweeping electro songs. I’m still humming the theme music (thank you keyboard lizard Parick Weland-Smith for the live tunes) and chuckling over Lenton’s imaginatively false lizard facts.
All three performers are incredibly grounded in their craft and Director Ngaire O’Leary has brought each of their eclectic mix of skills to the forefront for one a crazy ride. Think a roller coaster between Monty Python style drama, belting musical numbers, solid character acting and seedy drag shows. It’s a sightly offbeat and wrong style of comedy, but its strong and very much an established style. This play is so indulgent, silly and there should be more work like it! It is a performance that showcases the excellent skill of its creators, is impossibly wacky and refuses to settle into a recognisable rhythm. It leaves you delightfully bewildered and I say bravo.
One thing that put a frown on my face was an alarming moment when a character’s throat was cut. Although no blood or gore it felt very real, very graphic and seemed entirely out of place it took me a few moments after to reconnect with the play.
But mostly a huge KUDOS to The Sexy Comedy collective. A mostly gentle, but often brutal poking fun at language and facts so effortless you could feel the faith and joy all involved took in the work.