As is apparent from the entirety of his new album, Johansson is a clever lyricist, and his live performance exceeds the high quality of his recordings, which are available at http://www.finnjohansson.bandcamp.com/ or in hard copy at BATS after each show this week. This sunglass-clad acid furby will leave you soaking in the layers of his music, staring up into the reflective mirror sky above the ocean, asking ‘Where’d I go and how long have I been gone?’
You’ve gone to the Theatre. And so The Things We Do begins. After a strong entrance, we are swept straight up into Sarah Tuck’s bizarre world, capturing the inside of people's minds and seemingly embodying how we think we look when we’re rockin' a solid lip sync to a power ballad which we pick up some discount molasses. The dance numbers are on form and the audience, cast as shelves of produce but also interactive elements of the piece, is joyful. Tuck’s clowning and character commitment are both commendable and her ownership of the piece, directed by Bop Murdoch, is apparent.
The lighting, designed and operated by the prolific and precise Tony Black, plays into this ‘other reality that is reality’ well, and especially striking is the lighting change for the Seal number. The lighting helps us establish the geography of the piece, which is respected by Tuck throughout, again helping us stay in this dream reality.
We meet several characters, their physicality's and voices distinguishing them in our minds. Although they play on stereotypes somewhat, this is perhaps necessary to the recognition of the character types we encounter in everyday life. The characters are delightful and have relationships that we can relate to and even invest in. Tuck's unwavering energy makes them sustained and precise, which paints the world richer so that we do not doubt it. In fact, the audience is so much bought into the world that one member, when asked ‘Which way did she go?’ responded with ‘Just down that aisle over there.’
The physicality of the piece is strong and the clever use of simple set pieces shows imagination and play. The horrible moment of the caged eggs dilemma is particularly poignant as a slightly more serious message, but this is never a heavy show. Even watching murder seems somewhat silly and whimsical in this universe.
Narratively, the piece is dramatic while solidly in the real world.. or the edges of it. We are only one off the full house of a birth, a death and a marriage by the end of it, and the person filming everyone throughout is bound to go viral after some of the things they’re captured. The storylines are tied up in an all-in battle to the death, and god damn we’re glad that Timmy wins. It is a credit to Tuck's stagecraft that she could accurately portray both people in a fight as they beat each other down, without us breaking focus or being jerked out of the action.
The Things We Do for a bottle of choccy milk ae, bloody bonkers!