Thursday, 28 August 2008

Skin, Aug 28, 2008 ***

By Humphrey Bower, La Mama
 La Mama Wed to Sun until Sept 13, 2008
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

In Skin, Humphrey bower adapts two of his own short stories into an intimate, atmospheric and spare solo storytelling performance. 

Jess Ipkendanz accompanies him with the haunting strains of original acoustic music for piano and voice. Her paintings line the walls and are eerily lit by Gwendolyna Holmberg-Gilchrist providing an unusual design.

Both stories have an edge of menace although Tony the hairdresser’s visit to Saigon is lighter and more comical. Tony is a stranger to Vietnam when he stays in a friend’s apartment. In order not to look out of place by the pool, he visits a tacky tanning salon that leaves him with orange skin and an allergic reaction.

The more threatening tale is about a white man’s encounter with an aboriginal spirit. He stays in an outback Western Australian town where he buys an aboriginal painting of a serpent. Almost hidden in cool dim blue light, he is visited in his cabin by the spirit of the woman who painted the serpent. Bower’s description of walking on the crystalline salt lake is chilling.

Skin begins as casual narration but becomes progressively more sinister.

By Kate Herbert

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