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Autocannibal (Theatre Works)

Imagine you’re the last person alive and all Earth’s resources have been depleted.  Autocannibal explores this premise in a confronting one-person play created and performed by the highly talented Mitch Jones. It’s performance art mashed with circus skills and clowning.

Jones is agile, powerful and bold. His character adopts a survival-at-any-cost mentality, with options fast running out. He busies himself in all sorts of ways … he plays games, runs and climbs and pulls faces. A voice-over calls on him to express various thoughts and feelings – “Successful”, “Convincing”, “Attacking” and so on. He’s desperately thirsty and hungry – how desperate has to be seen to be believed (stomach-churning though that may be). He preens and bristles and even finds a way to copulate with garbage (I kid you not).

Photo: Jacinta Oaten

The performance is electrifying. I’m a huge fan of Jones’ expressiveness through body fluidity and facial variation. He pours his heart into a work that deals with the harsh reality of Earth as we already know it and what turmoil may follow. Resource exhaustion, over-consumption, pollution, climate change … a deadly combination.

Michael Baxter has created a dystopian set. It’s rudimentary, but most appropriate. Add a pliable pole, some pulsating sound (courtesy of Bonnie Knight and Marco Cher-Gibard) and mood lighting from Paul Lim and there you have it. All that was missing was grease on the pole and then the slippery slide into the abyss.

Mind you, the play isn’t all doom and gloom. There are laughs among the despair.

Autocannibal is playing at Theatre Works in St Kilda until 21 July 2019.

Alex First

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