**** stars

The Bride is part of Summer Nights for Perth Fringe World 2020 at the Blue Room Theatre and presented by creator and performer Nadia Collins.

Collins is taking a huge gamble on a show that depends on audience participation. Thankfully the audience I was a part of was open to the challenge and happy to be involved; though it’s hard to resist Collins’ vulnerability and appeal. The show opens with a bogan cockroach exterminator who quickly exits the theatre when he realises he’s not in the wedding party but watching a ‘lefty’ play. Except for a voice-over, this is the only dialogue in the play but the exterminator fits perfectly into the story.

The titular character appears and Collins transforms as the pressure mounts to fit into the bridal dress. The rapid succession of actions suggests that the bride is caught up in a ritual, with all the formalities and expectations that accompany it. The hens party captures this beautifully. It is Collins’ manic performance that suggests a deeper meaning to this piece, a subtext to each action, non-verbal gestures and repetition that are at times unnerving. Nevertheless, the performance moves quickly and never dwells on anything unpleasant or deep and meaningful; but could making choices that are premature or conform to social norms turn you into a cockroach?

The Bride stands as an entertaining and, at times, thought-provoking show in its own right but there are aspects of The Bride and its relationship to Kafka’s The Metamorphosis that could be further developed in more complex ways. Collins is an intelligent and dynamic performance maker who takes calculated risks with aplomb.

The Bride is showing in the Kaos Room at The Blue Room Theatre, Perth Cultural Centre, Northbridge until 8 February.

4/5 stars

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