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Reviews/Fringe World Festival/Theatre

In a twilight zone

13 February 2020

David Zampatti says STAR POWER is entertaining, but not stellar enough to send him into orbit.

Review: Hannah Davidson and collaborators, STAR POWER ·
Blue Room Theatre, 11 February 2020 ·
Review by David Zampatti ·

The promotional material for STAR POWER claims that things zodiacal are a current obsession among millennials. I’ll have to take its word for it – it’s been years since anyone asked me what star sign I was so I had to then tell them to piss off (typical Aries), and that’s a source of some comfort to me. As if we didn’t have enough to worry about.

Sadly, too, my days of pyjama parties, spilt dips and burnt pizzas are well past me, if indeed they ever arrived. So I guess I’m not the ideal audience member for a zany little spoof about astrology, sleepovers and unrequited love among the spin-the-bottle set. But at least the energy of the cast and some pretty snappy lines made for a decently entertaining hour or so at the Blue Room.

If that sounds like damning with faint praise, I’ll have to plead guilty. Hannah Davidson and her collaborators are recent graduates of WAAPA’s performance making course and it’s observable that the style of the academy’s undergraduate work as well as the skills it teaches can take time to shake off. The result tends to be work that sits in a kind of twilight zone between skits and fully-fledged plays. The idea is often great (this one has quite a bit going for it, in a lightweight sort of way) and the talent and skills are there, but there’s no real plot development and certainly no character journey for us to respond to.

The danger, of course, is the resort to silliness – supplied here by the sudden and extremely entertaining appearance of Mercury in the shape of Tristan McInnes (the howls of delight from the audience may have come from friends of the cast, but they were well deserved).

There’s also some genuine talent on show – Davidson herself has got a real charisma and spot-on comic chops, and there are no slouches in the cast, which includes Sian Murphy, Lindsay McDonald and the puckish Louis Spencer. Mitch Whelan directs with surety, and Clancy Davidson is an enigmatic figure behind the action on keyboards.

So, look, if you’ve got an hour to spare before Fringe World ends, you might try a bit of STAR POWER, more for a taste of what the people in and behind it are capable of rather than what they are up to here.

STAR POWER runs until 15 February 2020 at the Blue Room Theatre, as part of Fringe World.

Pictured top: Tristan McInnes is a big hit as Mercury in ‘STAR POWER’.

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Author —
David Zampatti

David Zampatti has been a student politician, a band manager, the Freo Dockers’ events guy, a bar owner in California, The West Australian’s theatre critic and lots of other crazy stuff. He goes to every show he’s reviewing with the confident expectation it will be the best thing he’s ever seen.

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