For a company only five years old, which was literally formed in someone’s actual shed in a back yard, The Bloomshed have established themselves firmly as experts in reanimating older texts, bastardising classic texts to create cutting edge, political contemporary theatre. Their latest show, The Nose, is an exemplary example of their brand, opening at Theatre Works in St Kilda this week, and delights audiences for a strictly limited season until 5th August.
Not the same as the opera of the same name, the show is based on Nikolai Gogol’s short story about a high ranking military official who loses his nose, only to find out it has formed a life of its own and is running around dressed in military garb superior to his own.
They have turned it into the most wonderful, wild and wacky tale of middle- upper class white male privilege, crucifying the stereotype of the straight white male and everything that comes with it, and rips into everything a millennial is exposed to, from student activists who think they can cure the world on the internet, to being a Liberal voter and thinking everything will be handed to you, to religion and heaven being for sale, with a wicked Saw reference in a priest on a golden tricycle (pretty much everyone’s worst nightmare). The show won the Festival Director’s Award at last year’s Sydney Fringe Festival, and rightly so- the show is a ridiculous look at people being unable to cope with white men, taking the piss on social media, progress and whether it is real, how to be a contributing member of society and people falling apart during economic chaos.
Their story centres on a CEO who has it all, and is a bit of a dick about it, who wakes up without a nose, finding it has taken on a life of its own, taking with it his privilege, entitlement and sense of self worth. His nose takes on parts of his personality and brand, and starts living his life, free.
Emerging theatre maker and writer James Jackson, along with performers Elizabeth Brennan and Tom Molyneux rotate the role of the CEO, each bringing to light a different element of the CEO’s personality and struggle as everything he was handed in the Disney monopoly world he is from crumbles apart. They bring endless energy, dance moves and genuine non-stop jogging to the show, and it’s perfectly in sync – no movement is out of place.
With fantastic use of side and floor lighting to create impressive, artistic shadows and silhouettes that fill the large, empty space that has no set, and no props aside from mic stands and the nose costumes they wear. The minimalist nature of the space allows them more room to run wild,
I highly recommend you do not miss this show, but if you don’t catch it in St Kilda, it is well worth the drive to The Courthouse in Geelong for the 10th and 11th of August. Perfectly primed for a run at any fringe festival, the show is the perfect offensive and antidote to the bourgeois and offensive privilege that gets flashed around Melbourne, further highlighting the divide between those who have and those who have not. A subtle but effective does of activism, feminism, a rally for equality and most of all, absurdism, get your tickets and more info on The Nose at https://www.theatreworks.org.au.