The brief blurb for Fish Amethyst invites us to: “Take a trip with the gods into outer space in this hilariously camp sci-fi adventure.” It seems that the craft is lacking adequate fuel, and navigation systems are compromised, in both story and production.
Seats were scattered around the space in pairs, and the three gods of our crew wandered around them, seemingly without purpose. On these excursions, lines were spoken in different directions. It was either difficult or impossible to hear dialogue projected away from seats as no amplification was used.
The problem of audibility was further compounded by periods where the cast would stomp around in chunky heels or wedges. This costuming choice for all players seemed to be the main contribution to the deities’ attempts to “defy gender”. It seems likely that certain key ideas were not heard by the audience, compromising the crew’s attempts to waken our chakras.
Whilst the intention may have been to mimic aspects of Red Dwarf or The Mighty Boosh, what we got was more a smattering of unpredictability as in Monty Python’s Flying Circus. If you often find Python bits unsatisfying now, then overused silliness in this work – say on musical instruments producing (initially) unexpected sounds, or the “talking stick” that isn’t at all necessary for talking – might not appeal either.
The production looks good, with suitably “out there” costumes combining fish motifs with minerals. Projected visuals helped us feel that we had joined an interstellar cult. There’s something to work with here, and this run should help the company work out which bits don’t come up to the “hilarious” standard promised.
Bluestone Church Arts Space, 8A Hyde Street, Footscray
Performance: Wednesday 7 February 2024
Season continues to 10 February 2024
Information and Bookings: www.midsumma.org.au
Image: Fish Amethyst (supplied)
Review: Jason Whyte