• Flora Gosling

Review: Scribble (Potocki Paterson Art Gallery)

Updated: Jun 2

Performing a show entirely in masks gives a challenge to any physical theatre performance, as the physicality has to be entertaining enough to fill the sizable gap left by facial expressions. "Scribble", a self-confessed work-in-progress from Knead Theatre, is a thirty minute show featuring music but no words, almost like a busking mime performance with an interesting performance space in the Potocki Paterson Art Gallery.

As it is a work in progress, it would be remiss of me to describe what happens. It is remarkably simple in premise, and if there was any deeper meaning or connection between the three segments to the performance they escaped me, the only tenuous theme being discovery and boredom. Even so, I never felt I needed one. I found "Scribble" to be oddly addictive to watch. Nothing extraordinary is done, nothing insightful is discussed, but because the Knead Theatre's ambitions outside of being entertaining are so ambiguous, it is a joy to watch. Without any type of traditional plot, it is unpredictable. Much like watching something like "Mr. Bean" the reason you can't look away is that you cannot help but wonder what is going to happen next, even if what happens next is nothing more impressive than producing a box of wine. The comedic tension brings the show to life.

This incarnation of "Scribble" adds a welcome injunction of unapologetic theatrical creativity to this year's New Zealand Fringe, especially with the aid of its wonderful costume design and original music written and performed by Richard Chapman. I look forward to seeing how it develops, and whether it can retain its charm to a longer run time, but in its current form it is experimental theatre for people who do not like experimental theatre, and a surreal treat for those who do. Four stars.

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