It’s not every day you come out of a live show feeling totally and utterly perplexed by what you’ve just seen. But that exactly describes the experience of going to see Lady Eats Apple, a theatrical production like no other, currently running as part of the Perth International Arts Festival.
In a show of such grand scope and ambition, production design becomes absolutely critical. And what a triumph it is here. Encased in a shell of black fabric, the audience enters into the world of the pre-conscious, a world without form or shape… the void. And from this void we are taken through to the dawn of creation in the show’s spectacular second act. It is an achievement worthy of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey in its mind-blowing mastery of sound and vision.
Where the show runs into trouble is at the level of storytelling for in its exploration of the heavens and earth, Lady Eats Apple too often mystifies instead of clarifies, which means that by show’s end, audience members are left scratching their heads as to how all these disparate elements fit together. Whether or not this open-ended vagueness is intentional or not, it is a glaring failure of storytelling to leave so much of the heavy lifting to the audience.
Despite these deficiencies, Lady Eats Apple still ultimately has much to recommend it. For one, it presents the audience with an opportunity to see those usually excluded from the performing arts take centre stage. And not to forget the wow-factor production design.
As the old saying goes, nothing ventured, nothing gained. And with Lady Eats Apple, the fruits of its labour are there for all to see. Chris Prindiville
For tickets to ‘Lady Eats Apple’ visit perthfestival.com.au.