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September 6, 2010 | by  | in Theatre | [ssba]

Distraction Camp

Distraction Camp advertises itself as being something entirely unlike what Wellington theatre has seen recently. This might be a slight over-statement, but there is very much a sense of difference, of stepping outside of the norm that hangs over the luxurious 90 minute running time.

It takes Jean Genet’s The Balcony as a provocation and text—but stops short of being any kind of direct “production” or “performance” of that text. It is set in a “house of illusions” in Christchurch (or maybe Wellington) 2009, where men come to reenact perverse images of control. One dresses as a bishop and drips hot wax on a sinning young girl. One is a judge attended to by a gimp on stilts passing judgement on a petty thief. One is a Nazi Camp Commandant. With all this recreation and reenactment, questions of veracity, truth and role hang heavily (along with a chandelier) over Distraction Camp.

The performances range from being very good to great. Peter Falkenberg’s direction and Chris Reddington’s design are both sumptuous and controlled, showing a very fine eye has been put towards the images, the plateux of the show. There is a real joy to be taken in the looking at of Distraction Camp. The show is very clearly aware of this and plays very much with the audience’s complicity in the voyeuristic act.

Distraction Camp is so sure of its images that it sometimes hangs on to them a bit too long. The biggest fault you can find with this show is that it just lets itself take a bit too much time. The opening wordless introduction sequence is a beautiful spectacle, and its shape and development work very well up to a point but very quickly it starts going just too long. This is a show that rides a line between being abstract and what some may see as self-indulgent. On which side of that line it falls is up to the individual audience member.

Distraction Camp
Directed by Peter Falkenberg
Performed by Greta Bond, Ryan Reynolds, Coralie Winn, Simon Troon, Marian Mc Curdy, Liz Boldt, George Parker, Emma Johnston, Chris Reddington, Nicole Reddington and Sophie Lee
At BATS, 9pm, 31 August—11 September 2010 or (04) 802 4175


About the Author ()

Uther was one of the two arts editors in 2009. He was the horoscopier and theatre writer in 2010. Alongside Elle Hunt, Uther was coeditor in 2011.

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