Review by Anina-Marie
Glitter Martini’s latest production A House, A Home is a stunning immersive circus work that challenges our notions of home. This work, devised by director Darcie Rae, is something unlike anything else. From the moment you arrive to the moment you leave, A House, A Home blurs the boundaries between life and art; a truly spectacular experience.
The audience arrives to be greeted by the Real Estate Agent’s assistant (Played by Director Darcie Rae). When the Real Estate Agent arrives, the show begins in earnest as the audience is transported from room to room to inspect this house on the market. The Real Estate Agent provides commentary throughout, as the audience watches four talented circus artists (in the role of the current tenants) interact with their home.
From the moment it starts, Darcie Rae’s vision and passion for the work is evident. Cleverly crafted with a mix of circus and immersive theatre, Darcie’s work is unique and original. The most surprising aspect of this show is its capacity to really challenge the audience to think about the commercialisation of homes; and given the current housing crisis, it’s a very timely piece indeed.
This is what the circus for the future should look like. Certainly there were plenty of spectacular tricks but the combination of all the elements pushes this work beyond just a compilation of entertaining tricks and engages the audience in something deeper. The experience forces one to think on the ethics of buying homes for millions of dollars only to evict the tenants without so much as a second thought. It begs the question: Should billionaires be allowed to profit from exploiting the average person’s basic human right to a home?
The familiar scenario of the home inspection means that the audience is immediately comfortable and inherently understands the parameters of this immersive experience. In the role of the Real Estate Agent, Jazz Milburn is absolutely spectacular. Jazz is the very image of the typical agent that we’ve all encountered at one point or another. Perfectly polished, well-rehearsed and focused on achieving the highest sales figure for the property. Jazz’s guidance throughout the show is what makes it possible for the audience to fully immerse themselves. Her performance felt so genuine that it’s hard to imagine she’s not really a real estate agent. Bravo!
The circus artists in A House, A Home are comprised of Tiana Pinnell, T’la Morrow, Elena Khaw and Sam Ellis and each of them bring something unique to the table. We are first introduced to them as they emerge into the lounge room in loungewear costumes designed by Lil Crump, interacting with the furniture in a way that is both extraordinary and yet still somehow relatable.
Then follows a poignant experience as we are led into the bedroom to observe Tiana Pinnell’s stunning portrayal of a nightmare through dance. This moment is excellently choreographed and the performance flawless. Tiana’s skill is in drawing the audience into her emotions through movement and it works spectacularly.
Shortly after the audience is drawn into a familiar scene; the assembling of Ikea furniture in the living room. This is Sam Ellis’s chance to shine and shine he certainly does. Sam’s performance features the art of rola bola (balancing on a board on top of a tube). This is easily one of the standout moments of this show as Sam eventually balances on top of an entire shelf teetering precariously on the tube. Bravo!
Here follows a short, playful movement sequence by Tianna Pinnell and Elena Khaw drawing the audience further into the action and the world of this home. After which the audience is led upstairs into an intimate lounge room. Here Elena chooses a member of the audience to play Scrabble with her. But not just any Scrabble, Elena is a spectacular contortionist who manages to skilfully place tiles with her feet whilst contorted to spell out the word “house”. The audience member is then encouraged to place their own word and cleverly assigned the tiles to spell out the word “home”.
Finally the audience is led outside to the pool area where the infectiously energetic T’la Morrow performs a series of amazing hula hoop tricks. The magic of T’la’s performance is her cheeky smile as she slowly adds more and more hoops. T’la’s smile is contagious and the audience can’t help but join in. This makes for a stunning, lighthearted moment right towards the end of the show.
Ultimately, the audience is led upstairs to the dining room where the Real Estate Agent tells us about one of her own memories of a dining room and prompts the audience to think about what makes a house a home. The audience writes down their offers for the house. And then, right as the show is about the wrap up, she receives a phone call and declares that the house has been sold and the new owners plan to evict the tenants and make it a holiday home. This final moment is what really drives home the message; because after having experienced a glimpse into the lives of the lovely, talented tenants, it is impossible not to feel for them.
Overall, Glitter Martini’s A House, A Home was an experience unlike any other. This show has it all; a poignant, thought-provoking message, extremely talented circus artists, stunning acting and a vision to create something unique. Bravo Gold Coast is really looking forward to seeing how this concept develops in its next iteration. Keep your eyes on this little production company, because they are certainly going places!