Elbow Room - wild variety and kooky stuff. Elbow Theatre at The Currong Theatre, Gorman House July 25-29, 2000. Bookings 6249 7377. Professional.
Elbow's program offers " live music, stand up comedy, sock puppetry, serious dwama, new writing, skits, faux rudeness, talent, 'art' etc", and the only thing I missed were the socks. That's OK, though: if you go on another night you might see them. Or maybe they got lost in the washing machine - which in the imaginary and imaginative theatrical space of the Elbow Room would certainly be a metaphor for Life. Life, unadorned, was a strong poignant moment on opening night.
Iain Sinclair, gently holding Timothy Wood's elbow, guiding him (eyes closed) through the blue door into all that Iain ever knew, seemed to me like a Clark Kent turned the S-man, holding the universe together. Though probably Lenore McGregor, who "produced and curated" the evening, was Elbow's S-woman extraordinaire.
If you are young and sexually active (or old...), you can't afford to miss this show's diversity of advice on the subject of love, from the neat, dry, even wistful songs of Jordan Best, through Jonothan Gavin's Shmaltz [sic], Clara Witheridge's Blanche from Tennessee Williams' Streetcar Named Desire, Alexis Beebe's giving of gifts to Mr Spielberg, Peter Robinson's description of John and Janet Howard past the point of epiphany, to Timothy Wood's sort-of love for his dog (in "Dog" by Steven Berkoff).
There is a Marvellous Melbourne feel about an Elbow Room evening, like a satire of a comedy festival, and indeed I discovered that the Elbows will be performing Deviations by Allen O'Leary at The Store Room in Melbourne this December, in some kind of relationship with La Mama. We will get to see Deviations here at The Currong in November.
On the other hand Mary Rachel Brown (A Streetcar Named Datsun 120Y, Pig Biting Mad), nowadays a Sydney connection, has a new play, Lounge-room Culture, which Elbow will present next February.
In the looming space of theatre in Canberra, Elbow is a point source of light beaming out to the edges of the universe. You might need your sunnies on to filter the brilliance of the language, mime and black humour - this is a warning you should take very seriously.
© Frank McKone M.A., F.A.C.E.
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