Review: Loco Maricon Amor – The Danger Ensemble at Metro Arts

20 August, 2012 by No Comments

Loco Maricon Amor is a tragic love story. But it’s also mind-bending, funny, shocking, colorful, brutal and undeniably surreal. We meet Salvador Dali: famed Surrealist painter and respected God of the visual arts (Chris Beckey), who is married to the beautifully glamorous Gala (Caroline Dunphy). But when Dali crosses paths with Federico Garcia Lorca, the Spanish poet and theatrical artist (Thomas Hutchins), the two fall rapidly and passionately in love. A doomed love triangle ensues. Think you’ve seen it before? Trust me, you haven’t.

This won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but Loco Maricon Amor demands respect. It’s a 100-minute marathon of song, dance and theatre and it’s beautifully energetic.

Loco Maricon Amor deserves respect. It’s a 100-minute marathon of song, dance and theatre and it’s beautifully energetic.

Director and designer Steven Mitchell Wright has led his troupe of performers and co-devisers to an astonishing destination. I’m having trouble thinking of another piece of theatre that has made me feel quite the same way.

The performances are beautiful, and at times quite athletic. Hutchins and Dunphy do particularly well as the two outer points of the love triangle. You feel and connect with them both, and they’re immensely watchable for the duration of the entire show. Peta Ward shines in her most comic moments, and the chorus-like trio (Lucy-Ann Langkilde, Polly Sara and Bianca Zouppas) are an absolute hilight of the show. Some of the most enduringly likable moments are the numerous songs, all delivered with superb skill.

The complaints here are small. I was pleasantly surprised to see such a structured narrative from this piece. It became something to lean on amongst the chaos. However, the climax comes perhaps too soon, and the denouement feels as though it drags us towards an ending that we all know. The sound design (I notice no credited sound designer), sometimes feels like an after-thought and does little to aid the action.

Otherwise, the technical elements of the production are as equally successful as the troupe. The set is an extraordinary, pure white, gallery-like space. Frequent visitors to the Sue Benner theatre will be surprised. Xani Kennedy (Set Realiser and Co-designer) needs to be congratulated. Ben Hughes faces the tricky task of lighting a pure white space, but he does it with skill and intelligence. The costumes are are also particularly well-conceived, especially for Hutchins and Dumphy.

The production team overall also needs to be congratulated. The hero image of the show is unforgettable (it’s going on my office wall). This is also one of the rare occasions in Brisbane where a show matches its venue perfectly.

Brisbane theatre-goers will recognise this instantly as a perfect Metro Arts Independent show.

I loved Loco Maricon Amor. You should go see it. Don’t expect realism, but expect surrealism done right. This is art with a sense of humor and intelligence. These two core tenets stop it from being pretentious. If you’re a visual art fan or you like your theatre alive, raw and fleshy, this piece is for you.