Theatre Review: Overexposed – State Theatre Centre of WA (Performances until November 1st)

Overexposed the latest work from director-performer Danielle Micich and writer Suzie Miller is a timely piece and a thought-provoking one.

With our everyday lives apparently threatened by the possibility of attacks both domestic and international, security and surveillance have become media buzzwords in recent weeks and months. It was quite fitting then, that on entering the Studio Underground foyer, all patrons were made to go through security before entering the performance. It was at this point the audience were frisked on the whim of the faux security staff, some reallocated and separated into two groups, wrong-footed from the outset. Each of the two audience groups get to see the same story unfold, a relaxing holiday turned sour, told from two perspectives that of an ASIO interrogator, the other the suspect, a veterinary surgeon from Perth (Danielle Micich).

Having been re-allocated to Door A, I witnessed the performance from the perspective of the interrogator, played chillingly by Humphrey Bower. It’s safe to say there are few things more disconcerting than witnessing an interrogation, without the questioned present. The audience are given snippets of a story, glimpses at the reason why this woman has been sequestered into a humid Indonesian interrogation room.

We are also given an insight into the background of the questioner, presumably in a bid to both humanise him and to again highlight that there are two sides to any story. Though it is not until the just before the conclusion to the performance that we are introduced to Micich’s character by way of a haunting dance that successfully conjured up the feeling of entrapment and despair.

For the most part I enjoyed the performance, there were parts that I thought were incredibly well done. I thought the acting, both verbal and non-verbal from Bower and Micich was fantastic. Bower managed to make his character both sinister but also a little charming, whilst Micich is able to convey so much meaning and emotion either with a look, or through movement. I also felt the surveillance scene did a fantastic job at showing the pervasiveness of CCTV and surveillance cameras in our cities in a bid to make us all feel “safe”.

My main issue with the performance is that it feels a little rushed, running at around the hour mark, there is a fair bit slotted into a short time frame, and for me I feel the conclusion suffered a little from it. It just seemed to get wrapped up all a little too quickly. I also would have liked to see a bit more of Bowers’ characters backstory touched upon, if only briefly. But that’s just me. Finally I found only hearing part of the story to be a little frustrating at times, but ultimately I think it was a successful technique, and certainly provided the audience with plenty to talk about over a glass of wine after the show.

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Overexposed is currently enjoying performances at the State Theatre of WA in Perth. Performances continue until November 1st. For tickets and more details head to: http://www.statetheatrecentrewa.com.au/eventDisplay.aspx?ID=1630. This reviewer attended the performance on October 28th.

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Simon Clark

Books Editor. An admirer of songs and reader of books. Simon has a PhD in English and Comparative Literature. All errant apostrophes are his own.

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