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Fringe Review: Full of Sound and Fury

Full of Sound and Fury

Reviewed by Lyndon Hood


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Full of Sound and Fury
Dreamscape
20 - 25, 27, 28 Feb, 1-4 Mar
7:30pm (60 min)
The Paramount (Booking 384 4080, www.paramount.co.nz)
Contains images on nudity

The man with the writer's credit is one Roman de Fruscan. Roman de Fruscan if the stage name of Louis Brush, the impressario of the Rogues and Vagabonds Theatre Company. He plays the lead in his own dubious production of Macbeth. And he is in turn played by Marcus Fernando in Dreamscape's Full of Sound and Fury.

This is typical.

As promised, life imitates art in this production, but not - not primarily - in terms of the violent power play of Shakespeare's tragedy spilling across to its cast. Full of Sound and Fury is first and foremost about theatre and actors.

The performance of MacBeth rapidly goes off the rails as two characters with opposing ideas on almost every aspect of theatre - Brush and his Lady Macbeth (Olga Novak (Tina Hofman)) - are compelled to battle out their differences on stage.

Character clashes, skilfully-handled changes in tone and a lot of comedy hold our attention as we experience a blizzard of ideas covering much of the modern history of Western theatre from Shakespeare to histrionic actor-managers to psychological realism and beyond.

Areas covered - with remarkable clarity - include the question of the 'fourth wall' vs working with audience, high art vs groundling-friendly entertainment, an actor's point of view on nude scenes, superstitions, the common mistakes of repeating or forgetting lines and why someone becomes an actor/manager. And much more besides.

Theatre types will recognise the approaches and situations (and how actors feel about each other's work) - for those interested in theatre, it's a peek at what goes on in theatre types' heads. If you go to plays at all, you're definitely interested enough.

The ideas themselves are enjoyable; coming out as they do through the characters' failings and their frustration with each other it makes for a good show.

Meanwhile the nature of the performance itself falls more and more into question. Many of the most 'spontaneous' moments are followed by a reminder that it was all planned in advance. As the characters lose their place, the question of 'Where were we?' can return them to somewhere in MacBeth, or somewhere in the argument they were having while trying to do MacBeth.

Someone, at some level, is on a quest to investigate theatrical 'Truth'. In the context of Shakespeare's famously bloody tragedy, this becomes increasingly dangerous.

It's difficult to quibble with the performances - with actors playing themselves playing actors playing roles in a play that mercilessly questions its own reality, it's hard to know where to look for 'good acting' anyway. If one might have expected more of a pretence of self-confidence from some who would set up a company so he could play Shakespere's leads - this isn't hugely relevant to the questions covered by the play or its enjoyability.

The fittingly bloody conclusion definitively wraps up the action while leaving all of the questions raise neatly unresolved - including the question of how real it all was. At the end of an enjoyable, very full hour, one is left with a lot to think about.

Full of Sound and Fury signifies quite a lot.

************

Full of Sound and Fury Press Releases
SCOOP FULL COVERAGE: Festival 2006

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