The performance, typical to physical theatre, is filled with games. From the delivery-man trying to ring the bell, to the bumblebee trying to fan themselves cool, each game is reflective of the characters and comedic for us to watch. Each game is well-developed, and some, such as the game to fit through the doorway, are reincorporated to give us constant comedic, yet inherently sweet moments.
While Flo’s slow pace adds to it’s kind-hearted simplicity, it also contains sections of action that have no apparent purpose, and therefore my attentions wanders. This is especially noticeable is when Flo is onstage on her own. She potters around, not doing anything in particular, and then exits with no purpose, except perhaps to allow the next character to enter from the other side of the stage.
The live music, by Richard Chapman, does a fantastic job reflecting the tone of the action using a range of expertly played instruments. An especially beautiful musical moment exists at the beginning of the show, as we watch flowers dance within a beam of coloured light to a melancholic tune. Slightly hidden by a curtain of gauze, he is intrinsic to the action without being overtly present, and that is reflective of the use of music throughout the show.
My only disappointment in the show is the many ways I lost sight of the mask. As the cast moved about the stage, their masks were often obstructed. Flo’s first entrance (a hunched shuffle) onto the stage offers no exciting reveal, despite some of the later characters excelling at this use of mask. The audience could have been played with and included more, especially during the time when there is only one character on stage.
FLO is a special show within the NZ Fringe Festival with its grace, expressive bodies, chilling music and beautiful lighting, and it’s definitely worth a watch. Despite its faults, the performers are highly talented, and the show offers an alluring and dream-like calmness to anyone’s busy week.
FLO is on at BATS Theatre until the 25th February. Click here to book tickets.